Tag Archives: Danny Amendola

New England Patriots: Belichick Lost Faith In Brady!

You can disagree all you want, but if, as Bill Belichick claims, he meant to kick-off starting O/T against the New York Jets Sunday there can only be one reason. He lost confidence in Tom Brady’s ability to pull off another miracle comeback, and that’s sad. Brady has made a career out of pulling the team out of the fire, often with limited resources.

The officials meet New York Jets' Darrelle Revis (24), teammate Calvin Pryor (25) and New England Patriots' Matthew Slater (18) and teammate Rob Ninkovich (50) for the coin toss before the overtime period resulting in highly questionable Patriots decision (AP hoto/Peter Morgan)
The officials meet New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis (24), teammate Calvin Pryor (25) and New England Patriots’ Matthew Slater (18) and teammate Rob Ninkovich (50) for the coin toss before the overtime period resulting in highly questionable Patriots decision (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

Those making the claim that he was playing it smart because the defense was playing well (428 yards) and the offense looked stagnant are missing the point. You probably are right in his reasoning, but how many times does Brady have to carry the team on his back to victory for the Head Coach to trust him to do it again?

Instead, by electing to kick, Brady never had a chance to touch the ball. No one can predict what would have happened if the Pats had elected to receive. They may very well have still lost…but at least you gave it your best shot by putting the ball in the hands of the greatest QB in NFL history.

After the game Belichick stuck by his call and said he wouldn’t have changed his decision. “We just didn’t play good enough defense.”

No one takes Rob Gronkowski (87) down one on one ( New York Jets' Antonio Cromartie (31) (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
No one takes Rob Gronkowski (87) down one on one ( New York Jets’ Antonio Cromartie (31) (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

Always outspoken Rob Gronkowski had this to say “You always want a shot to score,”  “It is what it is.”

And finally, the always politically correct Tom Brady said “Whatever coach decides, that’s what the team does,”

Jet’s receiver Brandon Marshall was shocked by the call. “After the game Josh McDaniels came up to me, my old ball coach in Denver, and I asked ‘What were you guys thinking?’ Marshall said, via CSN New England. He explained to me the situation a little bit but I didn’t believe him.”

As the Head Coach said “I clearly thought that was our best opportunity, so that’s why we did it. I didn’t like the way it worked out, but to me that was the right decision for our team at that time.”

History Repeats Itself

It reminded many Patriot long timers of a call Belichick made on November 11, 2009. New England was ahead of Indianapolis 34-28 with 4th and 2 at their own 28. With just over 2 minutes remaining common sense said punt, but instead the Head Coach went for it… and failed on a controversial call. The  Colts took over and scored an easy TD to win 35-34.

Later Belichick said “I thought it was our best chance to win (sounds familiar). I thought we needed to make that one play and then we could basically run out the clock. We weren’t able to make it.”

A few other factors came into play in that game:

  1. They were facing Payton Manning in his prime and didn’t want to give him the ball with an opportunity to win
  2. The New England defense was struggling after the offense built a 17 point lead (In other words he didn’t trust it to hold the lead)

Former Patriots disagreed vehemently with the call – Rodney Harrison called it “the worst coaching decision I’ve ever seen Bill Belichick make.”

Tedy Bruschi said, “The decision to go for it would be enough to make my blood boil for weeks. … I would look at this decision as a lack of confidence in our ability as a defensive unit to come up with a big play to win the game.”

Sorry fans, but it was a bad call in 2009 and just as bad Sunday!

On To Miami

The good news is, the loss really didn’t cost the Patriots their chance to host all their post-season games up to the Super Bowl. A win Sunday in Miami and the season has been a complete success no matter what happens between the Broncos and Bengals. Achieving 100% of their goals for the regular season is astounding considering the injuries they have overcome.

Game Notes:

  • The Patriots sat their walking wounded with the exception of Dant’a Hightower. It cost them, but was worth it to give Devon McCourty, Patrick Chung, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman another day of rest.
  • The loss of McCourty & Chung was noticeable throughout the game and particularly in O/T when confusion in the secondary resulted in a 48-yard completion to Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa on the second play of overtime
  • Not a bad game by Brady, but also not one of his best. 22 for 31, 231 yards, 1 TD & 1 bad interception when he and Gronkowski seemed to be on a different page.
  • Steven Jackson made his 1st appearance in a Patriot uniform. As expected he looked a little rusty, carrying the pigskin 7 times for 15 yards
  • Brandon LaFell was the forgotten man with just 1 reception for 9 yards
  • James White had the only TD by the offense (leading to Belichick’s O/T thought process?)
  • A strip sack fumble caused by Jabaal Sheard resulted in 7 by the
    Jabaal Sheard (93) strips the ball from New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    Jabaal Sheard (93) strips the ball from New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    defense when Jamie Collins recovered the ball and ran it 14 yards for New England’s 1st TD

  • The Patriots were 1 for 10 on 3rd down, leading to their demise (hurry back Edelman & Amendola)
  • The defense gave up 428 net yards while the offense could muster just 284

So, now it’s time to move ahead. It will be interesting to see who suits up against the Dolphins. With Sebastian Vollmer going down the offensive line is once again in shambles, so it is anyone’s guess as to who (whom???) plays where.

Sebastian Vollmer (76) is carted off the field during the first half (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Sebastian Vollmer (76) is carted off the field during the first half (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

 

 

New England Patriots: Play The Subs…PLEASE!

Another goal was reached Sunday when the New England Patriots routed the terrible (3-11) Tennessee Titans 33-16 in their final regular season game at Gillette Stadium. The win brought the beat-up, battered bodies of the home team to 12-2, but, more importantly, Denver’s loss to Pittsburgh guaranteed them a first round bye. The Patriots have now earned that honor for an NFL-record six consecutive seasons.

Malcolm Butler had a big game, including this interception in the end zone in front of Harry Douglas (83) (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Malcolm Butler had a big game, including this interception in the end zone in front of Harry Douglas (83) (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

How’s This For The Most Dominant Team In This Decade

  • Second team to ever have at least 6 straight 12 win seasons
  • Most seasons earning a bye since 12 team playoff format since 1990
  • 5 sacks against Tennessee and at least one sack in every game in 2015
  • Bill Belichick is 55-11 (.833) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games)
  • Tom Brady tied Peyton Manning for the NFL record with the most seasons with 35 TDs (4)

The Patriots wrap up the season with road games in NY against the Jets and Miami to take on the Dolphins. They need to win one of those two games to assure home field advantage up to the Super Bowl. How important is home field? Well, since 1996 the Patriots are 17-3 playing at home in the real games. ‘Nuf said?

So, Who Do You Rest & When?

With injuries piling up every week the question arises, at what point do you start resting some of the walking wounded? The answer seems simple, NOW.

We all know Tom Brady will grit it out until the end, but even with a rotation of healthy running backs (James White has really stepped up and who wasn’t impressed with Joey Iosefa, oh yeah, and now Steven Jackson), enough WRs to get by (Brandon LaFell, Keshawn Martin, Leonard Hankerson Chris Harper) and the World’s greatest tight end (no need to name him is there?) New England should be able to win one, if not both of their remaining games.

Let Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman get as healthy as possible. Keep them on the bench until the games really matter, 4 weeks from now.

The defense continues to shine, so sitting Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung shouldn’t matter. Yes, all 3 are critical players if the team is to play in Super Bowl 50, but right now they can be replaced in the short run.

Defense Shines Again

Akiem Hicks recovers the ball for a TD after it was stripped from Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Akiem Hicks recovers the ball for a TD after it was stripped from Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Despite an understandable let-up in the second half the defense once again dominated. The list of players impressing grows game-to-game. This week it was Akiem Hicks turn to step up with a strip-sack (Chandler Jones featured photo) fumble recovery for a TD, a sack of his own, 4 tackles and constant pressure up the middle.

  • Chandler Jones had a two-sack game, bringing his season total to 12 1/2
  • New England is tied for 1st with Denver in team sacks (47)
  • The Patriots are now in the Top 10 in all key defensive stats…Points (7th), Yards (6th), Passing (8th), Rushing (10th)

Next Game: 1PM Sunday vs the Jets

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New England Patriots: Forget Gronk, Who Is This Leonard Johnson Guy?

Let me start by saying it was great to see Rob Gronkowski back on the field. There’s no doubt he made a big difference in the Patriot offense as they destroyed the Houston Texans 27-6 on Sunday Night Football. The win & Miami’s Monday night loss to the Giants gave New England the AFC East Division title once again.

Tom Brady
Tom Brady explains to the officials why the call should be against Houston (AP Photo/George Bridges)

Tom Brady was efficient (22/30, 255 yds, 2 TDs, 0 ints). Heck, he even helped the officials out with a call (see photo). James White continued to show promise, Danny Amendola was solid and, once again, Brandon LaFell had the drops (caught 5 of 8 passes)…but make no mistake, this game was…

All About The Defense One of 6 sacks as Brian Hoyer is brought down by Dominique Easley with help from Ninkovich. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

One of 6 sacks as Brian Hoyer is brought down by Dominique Easley with help from Ninkovich. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Yes, the offense put up 27 points against what was a surging Texan’s defense, but this was a game dominated by the Patriots D. There was never a time when you felt Houston could score enough points to win from their opening 3 and out to Tom Brady kneeling to kill the clock over the last 2 minutes.

Keshawn Martin (82) fumbles a punt during the second half (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Keshawn Martin (82) fumbles a punt during the second half (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Even when Keshawn Martin muffed a punt (this is beginning to become a habit) and Houston recovered the ball on the Patriots 22 with 10:32 left in the 3rd quarter there was no concern. New England was up 20-6 at the time and, despite their recent troubles with 14 point leads, you just knew this team would not blow another double digit lead.

Obviously Houston Coach Bill O’Brien had no confidence in his team’s ability to move the ball long distances when he ignored the opportunity for a chip-shot field goal and went for it on 4th and 4 at the Pats’ 15 yard line. An incomplete pass from Brian Hoyer to Nate Washington, who was covered by Leonard Johnson, and the D had done it again.

It’s easy to question the decision to chase points that early in the game, and I have to confess I did. The game was within reach and putting any points on the board would have given the Texans a lift with most of the second half still to play. He proved to be right though, as that was the last time Houston had an opportunity to score.

So, Who Is Leonard Johnson

Leonard Johnson, a  previously unknown cornerback, played 42 snaps (courtesy of Mike Reiss) and had a solid game as the #3 CB behind Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan.  The Texans were 0-3 throwing in his direction and he had one of the better break-ups in the game. Johnson  joined the team this week after being released by Tampa, and Bill Belichick jumped at the chance to bring him in and sign him to a 2-year contract.

Belichick is slow to give praise to any player, let alone one who had just joined the team, but he had this to say about the 4th year undrafted free agent:

“He worked really hard this week,” “It was a long week, a lot of extra work, a lot of extra meetings, some good competitive time on the practice field. Got to give him a lot of credit — he came in, learned and his teammates embraced it … .”

As the year started everyone had concerns about the Patriots’ secondary, but, to the surprise of all, it has been pretty solid through the first 13 games. Butler has had some great and some not-so-great games, Logan Ryan has grown into a sold #2 and now it looks like (I know, it was just one game) Johnson brought the final piece to the puzzle.

It’s Nice To Be Back On Top

Everything fell into place on this Sunday as the Patriots went from the #3 AFC seed back to #1, aided by Cincinnati and Denver losses. Once again they have control of keeping an important bye-week in the play-offs and home field advantage throughout. With 3 games left (Titans at Gillette next week, J-E-T-S and Dolphins on the road) they could, and should, finish with another 14 win season and a healthier team when they play the real games.

Game Notes:

It wasn’t all good news though, as the injuries continue to mount.

LeGarrette Blount was on his way to a big game before injuring his hip early (99 J.J. Watt) (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
LeGarrette Blount was on his way to a big game before injuring his hip early (99 J.J. Watt) (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

LeGarrette Blount (Hip), Devin McCourty (Ankle), Dominique Easley (Thigh) and Jonathan Freeny (Hand) had all left the field with injuries by the end of the game.

Blount is walking with the aid of crutches and is reportedly out for the season, Freeney has a cast on his hand and McCourty has a high ankle sprain. Easley was put on season ending IR Tuesday

  •  Jerod Mayo had his best game of the season, leading the team with 7 tackles
  • Defensive Lineman Akiem Hicks,  acquired in a trade from the Saints for TE Michael Hoomanawanui , was outstanding with 2 of the Patriots 6 sacks and was credited with 6 tackles.
  • Jabaal Sheard seemed to spend the entire game in the Houston backfield, as he had 2 forced fumbles, 3 QB Hits, 2 sacks and 5 tackles
  • J.J. Watt was a non factor except for one late hit on Tom Brady long after he had released the ball
  • The Patriots clinched a playoff spot for the 17th time in the 22 years Robert Kraft has owned the team.
  • This is the 7th straight year the Pats have made it to the postseason
Rob Gronkowski's 10th TD catch (Photo: Patriots.com Keith Nordstrom)
Rob Gronkowski’s 10th TD catch (Photo: Patriots.com Keith Nordstrom)
  • Gronkowski notched his 10th touchdown, marking the fifth time he’s done that in his career. That’s the most 10-plus touchdown seasons for a tight end in history (From Paul Perillo)

The Patriots have already had their trap game (Philadelphia) so should not let up as they take on the hapless Titans in Foxborough this Sunday

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

New England Patriots:Moving On Without Any Excuses

I am a Patriot fan and have been since the original Boston Patriots came into existence in 1960, so now you know I’m REALLY old. Hell, I remember when Elvis was still The King. Those following this now great franchise are as loyal as you will find anywhere, and more so than most.

Boston Patriots 1960

Now that I have that out there, I have to admit that I’m getting tired of the whining.  A team of mostly battered and bruised players at almost every position (I know, no player in the NFL is 100% healthy right now) in a meaningless game, an offensive line (and, yes it is offensive!) that can’t block, one of the youngest defenses in the NFL and a usually reliable group of special teamers gave away two games they should have won. As a result many (not all, but a lot) Patriot fans are ready to hang the officials, blame Roger (Mr. Integrity) Goodell and, worst of all, start doubting the team.

Hey, they are 10-2 and still control their destiny. New England is positioned to get a bye throughout the play-offs by winning their last 4 games against teams they should beat. Calm down…Sunday was about as bad as it will get. Bill Belichick said after their worst loss in Kansas City last year…It’s “on to Cincinnati” … this year it’s “on to Houston.”

Worst Loss Of The Belichick Era?

This was perhaps the worst loss of the Bill Belichick era. No, not in term of importance of the game, but just how bad the coaching was, lack of adjustments made and overall team performance. At least the loss to the Chiefs last year was against a decent team. Not the case Sunday. The Eagles were ready to cave when the Patriots went up 14-0. And then something happened that had occurred a few times early in the season.  The Pats decided they needed to pour it on and the world turned upside down (someone please explain to me what that means…but it seemed to fit here).

The Turning Point?

Tom E. Curran of CSNNE disagrees, but the game changed when the Patriots decided to try a play that rivals that used earlier this year by Indianapolis in their loss to this same Patriots team. Their blunder was a fake punt, our was a fake kick-off!

"Now let's see here. Wait, I know...let's try a drop-kick instead of kick-off. That should fool 'em" (Photo: AP /Charles Krupa)
“Damn this high tech stuff. Now let’s see here. Wait, I know…let’s try a drop-kick instead of kick-off. That should fool ’em” (Photo: AP /Charles Krupa)

At that time we mocked the Colt coaching staff for their ineptitude and were thankful our Patriots wouldn’t and couldn’t do anything that dumb. Well, guess what? Bill Belichick just took a step back into the crowded list of coaches who do really dumb things that look horrendous when they don’t work…which is usually the case (ergo the word dumb).

A few weeks back it was an onside kid that the Patriots were lucky to recover (again when up 14-0) and we all laughed and said…smart move. Go for the knock-out punch. Sunday the brain trust on the sideline decided to try…are you kidding me…a drop kick by Nate Ebner, and it was the beginning of the end.

Up 14-0 and having the Eagles ready to concede the game, the brilliant minds of New England’s football team gave them hope…and the ball in great field position. Before you could blink (well, maybe not that fast, but it sure seemed like it) the Eagles had tied the game 14-14.

The botched kick (BB said after the game it wasn’t an on-side kick) and a missed assignment that led to a blocked punt resulted in two TDs for an Eagle team that had been inept up to that point. If it wasn’t an on-side kick than was the attempt being made to give the Eagles a chance? Sorry, not buying it Bill.

Second Half Adjustment?

Throughout this season I have praised the Patriots for their ability to adjust on the fly. Well, for yesterday’s game, I take it back.  Any adjustments they made were either wrong, or just plain arrogant. It seemed like the strategy was, as in last week’s loss in Denver, let’s throw the ball long and let our fleet-footed (huh!) receivers outrun a poor Eagle secondary.

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin (98) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the first half (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin (98) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the first half (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
  • Forget the fact that Brady was being hammered in the pocket and long passes take time to develop
  • Who cares if the Eagles are 26th in rushing defense, let’s fool them and pass-pass-pass…Brady threw the ball 56 times.

With the score knotted at 14-14 the Patriots continued to look like the Detroit Lions (that’s about the worst thing I could say), only worse. New England usually owns the second half, especially at Gillette Stadium. Shoot, when they get the kick to start things off after the break fans know something good is going to happen.

Forget that “score at the end of the half and starting the 2nd half” strategy that has worked all year. This time it was, let the Eagles score five (yes, 5) straight TDs without scoring a point and see if you can come back.

How The Eagles Scored

This isn’t pretty, so take a deep breath:

  1. Botched on side kick = TD. Coaching blunder
  2. Blocked punt = TD. Missed blocking assignment
  3. 99 Yard interception = TD. Brady throws into a crowd and looks really foolish trying to tackle Malcom Jenkins as he runs through the entire Patriot team (see featured photo)
  4. 83 yard punt return for Daryl Sproles = TD. Patriot special teams part the waters as he scrambles to the end zone.
  5. Bradford to Matthews for 10 yards = TD. Once again Tom Brady was intercepted on an up-for-grabs long pass intended for Brandon LaFell which was nowhere near him. Wrong route? Bad pass? Only the Patriots know, but bottom line another Eagle TD.

Every Eagle score was a result of a Patriot miscues. The only impressive offensive drive by Philadelphia was after Brady’s second interception. They took over with 2:10 left in the 3rd quarter and marched 80 yards, scoring with 11:14 left in the game to make it 35-14..

Garbage Time

Despite the big lead in the 4th quarter the Eagles still were ready to

Scott Chandler had a nice TD catch ( Photo: Keith Nordstrom Patriots.com)
Scott Chandler had a nice TD catch ( Photo: Keith Nordstrom Patriots.com)

give the game away (this is a terrible team folks). After the Pats went three and out following the Eagles final score, the defense stepped up and forced a Philadelphia punt with 7:54 left in the game. Brady marched the Patriots 71 yards, culminating with a Brady to Scott Chandler 14 yard TD as the clock ticked down to 5:33. 35-21 Eagles

This time the Patriots successfully executed a regular on-side kick and recovered the ball on their 45. Nine plays later Brady scored on a 1-yard run and it was 35-28 with 3:02 left.

Tom Brady scores on a quarterback sneak (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Tom Brady scores on a quarterback sneak (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Many in the Gillette Stadium crowd had already left, but those headed to the exits at this point stopped in their tracks and scampered back to their seats.

Another Brady Miracle Finish?

The Patriots 3rd on-side kick almost worked again, as Philadelphia muffed the kick, but the ball went out-of-bounds as the Eagles took over on the NE 46.

The Eagles again tried to give the game back when, after getting to the Patriots 25, Jamie Collins (he’s back) forced a fumble. It was all in the hands of the greatest QB in NFL history. Well, actually, it was in the hands of the receiving corps, who, after getting 1 first down, had 3 drops and the game was over. Eagles win 35-28.

Game Notes:

  • If my memory is correct the Patriots last drop kick was an extra point by Doug Flutie against the Dolphins in his last game in the NFL
  • James White was finally given a legitimate chance to make a
    James White (28) runs from Philadelphia Eagles linebackers Brandon Graham (55), Kiko Alonso (50), and safety Walter Thurmond (26) (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
    James White (28) runs from Philadelphia Eagles linebackers Brandon Graham (55), Kiko Alonso (50), and safety Walter Thurmond (26) (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    difference and he took advantage of the opportunity with 10 receptions (on 13 targets) for 115 yards and a TD

  • The running game, when given a chance was effective. Despite just 13 carries, LeGarrette Blount averaged 4.2 yards per touch while bowling his way to 59 yards.
  • Danny Amendola made a difference with 7 receptions (13 targets) for 62 yards and a TD
  • It looked like Brandon LaFell cut off a long route on Brady’s 2nd interception. He ended up with 9 targets and a poor 4 receptions for a measly 24 yards…and he was the intended receiver on most of Brady’s long throws
  • Brady was sacked 4 times while the Patriots only got to Bradford once. Tom has already been sacked more times than he was all of last season
  • Scott Chandler had one of his better games (that’s not saying much) since joining the team with 4 receptions (7 targets) for 61 yards and a tough TD catch

     Jamie Collins a little late as Bradford releases while getting hit( Photo: Keith Nordstrom Patriots.com)
    Jamie Collins a little late as Bradford releases while getting hit( Photo: Keith Nordstrom Patriots.com)
  • Jamie Collins returned and led the team with 7 tackles
  • Of the Eagles 5 TDs, 1 was on defense and 2 were by special teams
  • Brady, pressured all game, was 29/56 for a deceptive 312 yards, 3 TDs, 2 int’s and  a rating of 71.4. Bradford, with little pressure went 14-24 for 121 yards, 2 TDs, 0 int’s and a 99.3 rating

 Moving On

Get the Philadelphia fiasco out of your head now. Don’t dwell on it, it will just give you a headache. It’s on to Houston to face the Texans, who are suddenly playing some very good football.

Early in the season this looked like a no brainer. When they were crushed by the Dolphins Patriot fans set them aside as a non-entity. That’s just not the case anymore.

Despite losing to the Bills yesterday 30-21 the Texans are in the hunt in the weak AFC South, tied with the Colts for the division lead at 6-6. In case you missed it, the game has been moved to Sunday Night.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

The Silver Linings Playbook:  Patriots Edition

quarterback-tom-brady-of-the-new-england-patriots-reacts-to-a-play-picture-id499221526

With a score of 24-30, the 2015 New England Patriots’ chance at a perfect season came to a screeching halt in Denver. There were many reasons for this crushing and untimely loss.

The officiating was absolutely dreadful on both sides of the ball but seemed to really needle the Patriots with a bunch of phantom calls during crucial moments in the 4th quarter. Most notably, Rob Gronkowski was called for an outrageous offensive pass interference penalty, costing the Patriots a first down and a chance to keep an important drive alive. The play clock fiasco during the Bronco’s injury timeout during the final drive was as confusing as it was accurate. Communication between the officials to the coaches and the players was downright pitiful.

The defending Super Bowl Champions entered the game with several notable star players missing, specifically offensive weapons Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola. Whereas both teams lost crucial players during the game, the losses of Dont’a Hightower and Rob Gronkowski seemed to derail the Patriots considerably. Losing Hightower opened up the run game for Denver, which on a night of snowy conditions was a godsend for their young Quarterback Brock Osweiler.  Gronkowski going out with a scary knee injury not only sucked the wind out of the Patriot’s collective sails but removed the final clutch superstar Tom Brady had left to throw to.

Finally and most importantly, Brock Osweiler played well in the 4th quarter, as did the entire Denver Broncos team. Although it is unpopular to say, the truth is given the cast and the set of circumstances The Denver Broncos made the most of their favorable circumstances. The tide turned drastically when Patriots’ rookie wide receiver Chris Harper fumbled the punt return and placed Denver in a scoring position. Did the Broncos take advantage of some slanted penalties and questionable play calls by the Patriots? Absolutely, and had the shoe been on the other foot Tom Brady and company would have done the same.

This game was a gut punch to Patriot Nation, leaving many fans irate that a winnable game and a perfect season had slipped away. Where it is true, the perfect season is no longer on the docket for the Patriots, this game is far more than just a sickening loss. In fact, this game told us more about the 2015 Patriots squad than the entire set of undefeated games played prior to it. With Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner gone in free agency, NOBODY gave this Patriots defense, more importantly the secondary, much of a shot at even being average. Malcolm Butler, Devin McCourty and especially Logan Ryan did a great job for the most part buttoning up Denver’s receivers Sunday night. Sure, Butler missed a few costly plays against Sanders but Logan Ryan all but eliminated Demaryius Thomas. Knowing that Logan Ryan is someone that can be counted on to remove a superstar receiver like Thomas from a game cannot be understated. This defense is formidable and an incredible asset, warts and all.

The Patriots offense has seen better days this year with the losses of Edelman, Amendola and Dion leaving unproven talents such as Chris Harper, Keshawn Martin and complimentary pieces like Scott Chandler and Brandon Lafell as primary targets. Still, even with this rag tag grouping (with the help of star Tight End Rob Gronkowski), the Patriots still scored 24 points over the best defense in the league. In fact, until Harper’s untimely fumble, the Patriots held on to a two score lead for considerable length of time. Rob Gronkowski’s role on Sunday can’t be understated, yet he still only one man and this offense stepped up when most teams would have crumbled to pieces.  The Offensive line, far from perfect was better than the Buffalo game and for the most part fairly sturdy as well. In the end, it took overtime to stop Sunday night’s bruised and beaten New England Patriots and that was impressive.

new-england-patriots-patriots-tight-end-rob-gronkowski-pumps-his-fist-picture-id499274152

Ultimately, Julian Edelman should be back for the playoffs, both Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Danny Amendola will be back sooner than later, Rob Gronkowski’s injury was not nearly as bad as it looked, and the Patriots (in their current incarnation) are a tough as nails team which should survive their schedule and persevere until most of the pieces are back in the puzzle box. The Denver loss on Sunday night will not define this Patriots’ season anymore than an undefeated streak was necessary for a Super Bowl Championship.

New England Patriots: Is Denver Tom Brady’s Achilles’ Heel?

Is it possible the Denver Broncos are Tom Brady’s achilles’ heel? Going into Sunday night’s match-up there was only one team in the NFL TB has a losing record against.  It may be hard to believe, but the best QB in NFL history is 6-7 against the Broncos, 5-5 in the regular season and 1-2 in the playoffs.

So, here it is. Sunday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver and Super Tom still has something to prove…one more mountain to climb. The big difference over past years is ( are you ready for this?)  Brady may have a mediocre/poor game and the Patriots still should win. I know, Denver has a great defense…but this year so do the Patriots.

D-E-F-E-N-S-E

The Patriots have allowed the fewest points-per-game (18.2) in the NFL while the Broncos are 18th in scoring (22.2). When you realize how many of the points scored against New England’s defense were in garbage time,  after games were already decided, the figure is decidedly lower.

Meanwhile, the always tough Denver defense is just behind NE, allowing a measly 18.3 PPG of their own.  Yes, the Patriots are 2nd in scoring (32.3), but the days of rolling up points look to be over with a depletion of skill players on offense due to injuries. Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson will be among the missing (Dobson for the year) leaving Brady with limited options in the passing game. Sure, he still has Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell, but after that there are a bunch of question marks.

Home Field Advantage

Big Edge: Denver

1960 Patriots vs Broncos (Photo: sportspaperinfo.com
1960 Patriots vs Broncos (Photo: sportspaperinfo.com

The Patriots are just 9-19 in Denver since the two teams first met in 1960.  Ah yes, I remember it well, a 13-10 Denver win. (The long-term memory is fine, it’s the short-term that’s a killer).

Here’s a scary stat (courtesy of WEEI’s Chris Price): .842 — Including the postseason, that’s the winning percentage for the Broncos in their last 19 home games against the Patriots (since 1969). Denver is 16-3 in those games.

Yeah, I know. Different year, different players…but still, it has to be on Tom Brady’s mind. He absolutely hates to lose with a passion that is unequaled. I know everyone hates to lose, but he takes it to a new level.  Just a few weeks back he was pounding the ground in anguish when he was sacked and felt it was his fault…and the Patriots won that game easily!

The fire in Tom Brady after getting pulled down in 36-7 win over the Dolphins (photo: Darren Mccollester/Getty Images
The fire in Tom Brady after getting pulled down in 36-7 win over the Dolphins (photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Why The Patriots Should Win

Despite the advantages the Broncos have, as listed above, the Patriots are still favored, although by a very slim margin…and the reasons are:

  • Tom Brady vs Brock Osweiler (No Brainer)

Brady showed his emotion repeatedly in last weeks win against the Bills, and his teammates would rather not face his wrath two weeks in a row.

“I was pretty agitated all night,” Brady told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Show, via Boston.com. “For three hours and 20 minutes, I was pretty agitated.”

James White had two TDs against the Bills despite limited touches (Photo: Fansided.com)
James White had two TDs against the Bills despite limited touches (Photo: Fansided.com)
  • More action from James White, who was clutch despite limited touches, in last week’s win over Buffalo. His snap count should increase with a reduction in touches by LeGarrette Blount.
  • The offensive line has to be better (couldn’t be any worse) as the walking wounded continue to return and the revolving door slows down. The Patriots have used 25 offensive line combinations this season, most in the NFL (Mike Reiss)
  • Bill Belichick vs Gary Kubiack (Another No Brainer)
  • Rob Gronkowski is due to have a breakout game. Denver now has Vernon Davis, who had his best game of the year last week, and Gronk won’t take kindly to being outplayed on national TV

Both teams are looking forward to this one. Here are a few pre-game quotes from the Bronco’s camp:

“It will be fun—Sunday Night Football, undefeated team coming in. It will be a lot of fun. It’s great playing against [Patriots QB] Tom [Brady], though. He’s a great competitor.”
– Broncos CB Aqib Talib

They’re really physical. Their defensive line—they’ve been causing a lot of chaos for quarterbacks. They’ve been getting to the quarterbacks. I think [Patriots DE] Chandler Jones  is over 10 sacks at this point in the year. I think they just play extremely hard. They know their scheme inside and out and they execute their scheme.”
Broncos QB Brock Osweiler

Prediction

Patriots squeak out a tough win and go to 11-0

Patriots 21 Broncos 17

Follow me on twitter @SnowdonBob

 

 

 

 

 

New England Patriots: The Survival Of The Best Coached Team In The NFL

The NFL is a game of attrition and teams know that coming into every season. It’s not shocking when players start going down…and it happens to everyone. Some teams use injuries as an excuse and fall by the wayside. The best teams use a step-up mentality and overcome the adversity.
Dion Lewis went down for the season in the win against Washington (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)
Dion Lewis went down for the season in the win against Washington (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)

 Survival Of The Best Coached

Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick ( Photo: salemnews.com)
Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick ( Photo: salemnews.com)

To this point in the 2015 season the New England Patriots, with arguably the best coaching staff in the NFL,  have clearly  taken the second approach, and it has paid off with a 9-0 record.

All NFL teams are forced to  dig into their back-ups, make trades or move players around to help fill the holes created… and New England has done that with the best of them.  What seems to be the biggest difference between the Patriots and most other teams is (drum roll please) they always seem ready for everything, and that, my friends (I hope) is  all about coaching.

Bill Belichick has always liked players with versatility and, in  2015, it has paid off. As injuries piled up we’ve seen players we never heard of (alright, maybe a slight exaggeration) playing positions they  never played in the NFL!

  1. Offensive lineman goes down – plug-in a tight end
  2. Wide receiver out for a while, go to two and three TE sets and throw in the next man up
  3. Defensive line struggling against the run, adjust the personnel package

Doing It Again

Julian Edelman is out with a broken foot ala Dez Bryant of the Cowboys (Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP))
Julian Edelman is out with a broken foot ala Dez Bryant of the Cowboys (Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP))

So now the Patriots face another hurdle. How do you replace the unique qualities of Julian Edelman? The simple answer is: you don’t! Fans are once again bringing up names (remember Reggie Wayne?) of players who may be available. It’s time to take a deep breath and let Mr. Belichick and his staff do their thing.

Danny Amendola (Feature Photo: Patriots.com David Silverman) has played his best football since becoming a Patriot. No, he doesn’t play the slot, as Edelman does, but here’s where coaching steps in again. The ability to change on the fly has been unbelievable this season…and the Patriots will do it again.

Brandon LaFell is hard to take down once he has the ball (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)
Brandon LaFell is hard to take down once he has the ball (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)

Brandon LaFell is back close to 100%, Gronkowski is…well, Gronk, Scott Chandler needs to step up and make catches he’s supposed to (Chandler has just 13 catches for 137 yards and two TDs this season), Keshawn Martin is about ready to come back and has looked good in his short tenure and it’s time to fish or cut bait for Aaron Dobson.

Will The Patriots Still Roll Over Opponents?

Quick answer, probably not. To expect the team offense to continue to perform at their current level minus an offensive line (which returns some bodies this week, thank God), Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman is completely unrealistic. Yes, Tom Brady is Tom Brady, but you could start to see his frustration Sunday against the Giants.

He’ll move on, but his comfort level of always having Edelman there when things aren’t going right won’t be the same with Amendola.  He made that plain in this weeks press conference when he said “ Julian Edelmans just aren’t sitting out on the street or else they’d be playing for another team” As Mike Reiss quoted in an article on ESPNBoston.

Lewis had added something this area hasn’t seen since the days of Curtis Martin, an elusive running back who made tacklers miss. James White and Brandon Bolden don’t come close to filling that role.

Can The Injuries Continue To Pile Up

By December there are very few bodies that aren’t battered and bruised. Most players accept it and are able to play through the pain. Many  just can’t because of the severity of their injuries.

You also have the rookies, who hit a wall around game 12.  No sir, the NFL isn’t quite like college!

  • The intensity is higher (it’s a job now)
  • The players are better and more physical
  • The speed of the game is about twice what anyone saw or played against at their alma mater
  • …and you play more games

So, logic says there may be more decisions to be made as the second half of the season rolls along. Don’t hang me here, but 16-0 may be unachievable, yet, looking at the rest of the NFL the New England Patriots are still the Super Bowl favorites.

Follow me on twitter @snowdonbob

 

New England Patriots: A Giant Mismatch? Not Quite.

New England Patriot fans worldwide were worried that the 8-0 season was about to show a “1” in the loss column. After all, these were the NY Giants that ripped the heart out of fans in two Super Bowls as Eli Manning outperformed Tom Brady…they were kryptonite to Superman. Hell, the ‘Gints were the only team in the NFL the Patriots hadn’t beat since 2008!

With the game played in MetLife Stadium, the Patriots offensive line still in shuffle stage and Jason Pierre-Paul confident he’d get to Brady to disrupt New England’s high-powered offense, an upset looked to be a given. Add in Odell Beckhams: ‘I’ve loved-hated the Patriots’ statement and you had the perfect setting for fans of the NY Giants…and then they started the game! It lived up to all the hype, as the final quarter determined the winner on the last possession as the clock ticked down. Patriots 27-Giants 26.

Patriots - Giants (Photo: Bing.com)
Patriots – Giants (Photo: Bing.com)

Scoring Streak Extended – First Quarter

Losing the coin toss (what’s going on here?) didn’t slow down the Patriots scoring streak as they drove 78 yards and ran off 14 plays in 8 minutes 25 seconds the first time they had the ball…culminating in a 1 yard TD pass to Scott Chandler. Split with 8 runs (including a 10 yarder by Tom Brady) and 6 passes, the TD extended New England’s scoring streak to 32 straight quarters, an NFL record.

It didn’t take Eli Manning and the Giants long to knot things up as the New York QB connected on an 87 yard TD pass to Odell Beckham Jr., who beat Malcolm Butler in single coverage as he scampered into the end-zone untouched. It was the longest offensive play ever against a Bill Belichick coached team.

After all the fireworks opening the game, things settled town with both teams going 3 and out before the Patriots took over on their 30 yard line with 3:29 left in the quarter. Following a short run by LeGarrette Blount, a 30 yard pass to Julian Edelman moved New England into NY territory as the quarter came to an end.

Another Quarter – Another Score

Edelman limped off the field with a broken bone in his foot, putting a big crimp in an already struggling offense. 3rd and 4 from the 8 yard line brought pressure up the middle, bringing Brady down with the 1st sack of the game. Stephen Gostkowski kept his perfect season alive with a 31 yard field goal, moving him into a tie for the most FGs in Patriot history and putting the Pats up 10-7.

The Giants proceeded to march down the field on their next possession before Manning was strip sacked by NFL sack leader Chandler Jones (10 1/2) and the ball was recovered by Justin Coleman at the Pats 16. With Edelman out of the game and the season long loss of Dion Lewis, the New England offense was stuffed. A critical Rob Gronkowski offensive pass interference call eliminated a 1st down and the Patriots were forced to punt from deep in their own end of the field.

After a 51 yard punt and an 11 yard run back the Giants had great field position on their own 46. After their drive stalled at the Patriot 19, Josh Brown hit his 19th straight field goal and the game was knotted at 10-10.

Reuben Randle grabbed a 31 yard pass from Manning at the Patriots 43 with a minute left in the half. Manning completed his 18th pass of the game to TE Will Tye and he rumbled to the 1 yard line. With 18 seconds left Eli lobbed a TD to a wide open Dwayne Harris and the Giants took at 17-10 lead into the second half.

Tom Brady vs Eli Manning

Manning had the most 1st half yardage of his career (251 yards) while completing 12 of 20 passes with two TDs. Brady, meanwhile, went 14-21 for 127 yards and 1 TD. History was rearing its ugly head as the Giants looked to continue foiling any bid New England had for a perfect season.

Eli Manning has stated he feels he is in the same class as Tom Brady (Picture handlebarmagazine.com)
Eli Manning has stated he feels he is in the same class as Tom Brady (Picture handlebarmagazine.com)

 The Streaks Continue In The Second Half

The Giants received the 2nd half kick-off and once again exploited the Patriots secondary, including an interference call against Patrick Chung and another (highly questionable) by Malcolm Butler.  The drive ended in a 38 yard FG by Brown (21 of 21) stretching the lead to 20-10, the largest deficit New England had faced this season.

Danny Amendola had a spectacular 82 yard punt return on their second possession of the second half as he brought the ball to the Giants 7 yard line. He was tripped up by a Patriot or would have had a TD. Blount ran it in from the 1 and the game got closer as the Patriots stretched their scoring streak to 34 quarters. Giants 20-Patriots 17

Josh Brown followed with a 53 yard FG, his 22nd of the season, putting the Giants up by 6, 23-17 as the 3rd quarter wound down.

Brady Turns The Ball Over

The Giants returned the favor they gave up in the 1st quarter with a strip-sack fumble of their own by Jasper Brinkley at the New England 39, but couldn’t capitalize on the turnover.  The Patriots defense stepped up, led by a Rob Ninkovich sack, and forced the Giants to punt keeping the game within one score.

Gronkowski with a big reception against the Giants in 27-26 win (Photo nydailynews.com)
Gronkowski with a big reception against the Giants in 27-26 win (Photo nydailynews.com)

The stop looked to be the turning point of the game, as the Patriots took over after the punt deep in their own territory. Gronk stepped up and caught the longest pass of his career with a 76 yard TD. The extra-point was good and suddenly New England was ahead 24-23.

Manning Magic…again

With the win staring them in the eyes, Tom Brady made his 3rd mistake of the quarter with a fatal interception at the Giants 1 yard line. Manning had his chance once again to stick a dagger in the heart of Patriot fans…and he did just that. On a 3rd and 3 he hit a wide open Harris for 30 yards at the Patriots 28…well within Brown’s range.

Butler strips TD catch in 4th quarter (Photo: cdn0vox.cdn.com)
Butler strips TD catch in 4th quarter (Photo: cdn0vox.cdn.com)

Another Manning to Harris pass put the ball at the Pats 5 with just over 2:00 left in the game. The Patriots caught a break when what was originally called a TD pass to Beckham was overturned on replay as Butler batted the ball out of his hands before he could establish possession. Brown kicked a 29 yarder with 1:47 remaining in the game and, once again, it would be a final possession game!

Brady Time?

Needing a FG to win and under 2:00 to go with no time outs the pressure was on. Brady, who lives for these opportunities,  was almost intercepted again but the ball hit the ground. Super Tom completed critical passes putting the Patriots at the Giant 37 with :06 left. Gostkowski was on the spot for a 54 yard game winning kick as NY called time out. The kick was good with 1 second left on the clock…and the Patriots remained undefeated, pulling out a hard fought 27-26 win.

Game Thoughts

  • After the game Brady commented “It always comes down to the end against them”
  • Although he was victimized by Beckham on the Giants 1st possession, Malcolm Butler played a solid game. His pass interference penalty was a bad call and he made a great play when he knocked the ball out of Beckham’s hands in the end zone in the 4th quarter.
  • The Giants came into the game with the worst TE defense in the NFL. They had done a decent job on both Gronkowski & Chandler until giving up the 76 yard TD in the 4th quarter
  • The Patriots entered the game as the least penalized secondary in the NFL, yet had 3 big interference calls
  • Brady fumbled twice and had an interception in the 4th quarter. The Patriots fortunately recovered his second fumble with over 9 minutes left in the game. That fumble was followed shortly by a 54 yard completion to Brandon LaFell at the Giants 15. His interception (3rd of year) came as the Patriots were looking to put the game away when Trumaine McBride picked him off at the 1 yard line with under 5 minutes to go
  • New York was 1 for 5 on TD attempts in the red zone
  • Jason Pierre-Paul had his 1st sack of the season called back on a hands-to-the-facemask call in the 4th quarter
  • The game ended with the Giants recovering a short kick and trying to pull off the miracle win as they shoveled the ball player-to-player before finally stepping out of bounds.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

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New England Patriots: The New Tom Brady

Let’s start with stating the obvious, Tom Brady is not from this planet. He is a real life “Superman.”

Tom Brady is Superman

After Sunday’s 30-23 win over the New York Jets even the most skeptical Brady hater has to be in awe of the unhuman things he is doing in his 16th year as an NFL Quarterback. Brady literally took the team on his back and refused to lose. We all knew he didn’t need any help in passing the ball, but:

  • 10 (or more) drops and he still throws for 355 yards
  • 2 TDs
  • 0 interceptions
  • 1 rushing TD
  • If that’s not enough he also leads the team in rushing for the 1st time in his career…at the age of 38

C’mon fans of the Steelers, Jets, Colts, Ravens (and on and on and on), admit it, you have to respect what this man has done. I know you may not be willing to admit anything publicly. Deep inside you still think he had to be cheating to do what he has, otherwise you’d have to admit your team actually lost to a “human” and you don’t want to do that. Among your fellow fans, when you belly up to the bar, you still mock him and talk about deflated footballs.

But when you take a moment and are honest with yourself you would love to have Tom Brady QB your team. You know it…I know it…and, don’t feel bad, your team feels the same way.

Is Tom Brady better now than he has ever been? 

Brady fires away in 30-23 win over the Jets (Photo: David Silverman Patriots.com)
Tom Brady fires away in 30-23 win over the Jets (Photo: David Silverman Patriots.com)

You can click on the above green link to find and compare Brady’s career statistics and decide for yourself. So, the question is, what more can he do? What is left to challenge the greatest QB in the history of the NFL (that will trigger some debate)? Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL owners provided the motivation he needed -or maybe he didn’t – to rejuvenate him for the 2015 season by questioning his honesty and integrity. His response has been to quietly embarrass them and their position. Hell, even the most avid Patriot fan has to admit he has surpassed any expectations we had for this season. Think about it:

  • 2,054 yards passing in 6 games
  • 16 TDs with just 1 interception
  • 2 rushing TDs after going the past two seasons with 0

With a mobility in the pocket that he has never shown before he looks like a “new” Tom Brady.  Don’t get me wrong, he has always been great, but this year he has moved into a new stratosphere. It’s not hyperbole, it is a fact and the eye test backs it up. Game-by-game he meets and exceeds expectations.

Brady brings out the best of everyone around him

Brady and Gronk celebrate TD in 30-23 win over the Jets (Photo: David Silverman Patriots.com)
Brady and Gronk celebrate TD in 30-23 win over the Jets (Photo: David Silverman Patriots.com)

Please don’t tell me he doesn’t have the weapons that other great QBs have. It doesn’t take anything away from what Mr. Brady has done this year to acknowledge the greatness of Rob Gronkowski (or Randy Moss in 2007). Julian Edelman and the now healthy Danny Amendola aren’t anything to laugh at, and Dion Lewis has emerged as a top tier running back/receiver.

Danny Amendola makes an acrobatic catch in 30-23 win over the Jets Photo David Silverman
Danny Amendola makes an acrobatic catch in 30-23 win over the Jets (Photo: David Silverman Patriots.com)

However, with that said, Brady makes everyone on the offense look better. The ensemble that makes up the offensive line attests to what he is capable of doing. If you can name the starting five linemen for last night’s match-up with the amazing pass rush of the rejuvenated Miami Dolphins without looking it up, congratulations.

Credit the quick release (fastest in the NFL) of Tom Brady with the fact we’re not in panic as each weeks latest super team lines up on the other side of the ball. Speaking of which, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing how all these teams are suddenly able to “challenge” the Patriots dominance in the NFL. Before they can challenge they have to show they can beat the best…and so far no one has done that.

Follow me on twitter @SnowdonBob

New England Patriots Player Profiles: Is Danny Amendola Set For a Career Season?

In March of 2013, the New England Patriots acquired Danny Amendola via free agency after the departure of long-time, and extremely productive receiver Wes Welker. Patriots fans were irate with the decision, seeing how Welker had fought through injury throughout his six-year Patriots career and hardly missed any time.

On the other hand, Amendola had missed a total of twenty-two games in four seasons with the St. Louis Rams for various injuries, including a serious collar bone injury that could have taken his life. Amendola entered Foxborough the same way he entered Texas Tech, taking over for a record breaking Wes Welker at slot receiver.

Amendola’s first year and a half in Foxborough was tough and frustrating for himself and the fans. Not only did he struggle to stay healthy, which was his biggest question mark heading in, he also could not get on the same page as Tom Brady. He was the polar opposite of Wes Welker at the beginning.

Amendola’s career really jump started in week seven of last season against the New York Jets on a rainy Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. The score was 20-19 in the fourth quarter, and the Patriots were hanging on to the lead by the skin of their teeth. On a third and nineteen play, Tom Brady rolled out of the pocket to his left side and looked as if he was just firing the ball into the back of the end zone, when out of nowhere Amendola snagged the ball out of the air while getting hit by Jets safety Antonio Allen, for a touchdown. The Patriots prevailed in the end with a 27-25 victory.

musketfire.com
musketfire.com

That single play helped carry Amendola throughout the season, and particularly into the postseason. In three playoff games Amendola finished with eleven receptions, for 137 yards, and three touchdowns. The divisional round against the Baltimore Ravens is where Amendola contributed the most.

In the fourth quarter the Patriots faced a huge third down play while trailing 31-28. Brady fired a quick out-route to Amendola, and he then shook off Baltimore defenders to dive over the first-down marker, setting up a fresh set of downs. The Patriots would later score on a touchdown reception from Brandon LaFell, which gave the team the lead 35-31, the score they would win by.

 Of course Amendola’s most notable moments came in the end zone. His second touchdown of the Baltimore game from Julian Edelman which tied the game up at twenty-eight.His second touchdown of the Baltimore game from Julian Edelman which tied the game up at twenty-eight. Then about three weeks later, Amendola helped bring the Patriots back into Super Bowl XLIX, finding the end zone to narrow the Seattle lead to 24-21 in the fourth quarter.

bostonglobe.com
bostonglobe.com

Going into the 2015 season, Amendola looked set to be the number three receiver on the Patriots roster. However, with Brandon LaFell still on the physically unable to perform list, and Julian Edelman fighting injuries, Amendola has received more first team reps and targets from Tom Brady than any other Patriots wide receiver.

This increased amount of reps and comfort with the starting quarterback could very well lead to Danny Amendola’s first full season where he is a productive player on the Patriots roster. He brings a lot to the table. He has the ability to play in the slot, and also at times catch the ball outside of the numbers. In addition, his most underrated trait is his ability to run block. Last season, Josh McDaniels called a lot of sweep plays to the outside where Amendola would come down and stalk block on a defensive back.

Furthermore, Amendola was without a doubt the Patriots best kick returner in 2014. He came onto the scene in week twelve against Detroit where he had two very solid returns that helped jump start the Patriots offense.

In conclusion, now that Danny Amendola is a, “made-man” in the Patriots offense, he can now be apart of a plethora of targets that should be one of the league’s best offenses. With the contributions of All-Pro Rob Gronkowski, and the reliable Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, and now you can throw in Amendola who could bring in about sixty receptions, the Patriots offense should be lethal.