With Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski tucked away in street clothes, the Patriots on Sunday leaned heavily on Danny Amendola.
Still nursing the sprained knee that kept him out a Week 12 loss to Denver, the wideout returned against the Eagles to catch seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown off a whopping 13 targets. Amendola also lobbed a 36-yard pass to Tom Brady, giving us a chance to watch one of the game's slowest quarterbacks chug down the sideline.
Amendola's versatility and ability to play through pain stood out to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said: "He's as physically and mentally as tough of a player as we have. It's good to have him out there."
Added Belichick: "He really, really fought hard. I don't think he could have done any more than what he did. He gave us all he had on every play, and we needed that. Danny really competed hard."
Amendola isn't the only pass-catcher to be singled out as a physically resilient receiver after Brady last January called Brandon LaFell "one of the toughest guys I've ever played with."
While LaFell has been slow to achieve liftoff this season, Amendola has piled up 26 catches for 258 yards and a score over the past three games. Until Edelman and Gronk return to the fold, New England's feisty pass-catcher remains as important to this attack as anyone not named Brady.