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Pats sing the praises of Danny Amendola

AFC Championship - Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots celebrates after the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Sunday wasn’t the first time Danny Amendola made a big play in a big game.

It’s just that this time, he was the last one left to make them.

Amendola caught two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Patriots came back to beat the Jaguars and advance to Super Bowl LII, and he caught them primarily because there was no one left to.

With tight end Rob Gronkowski concussed and without Julian Edelman (preseason torn ACL), Amendola was the last of Tom Brady’s longtime targets standing. So with the game on the line, Brady trusted him to get his feet down in the back of the end zone because he’s done it so often.

“Yeah, it was great,” Brady said, via Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston. “He’s made so many big catches, and I saw he got the one foot in and I just saw it up on the big screen one time. He’s got great hands and just a great sense about where he’s at on the field. So, I mean, he’s made so many big plays for us, and this was huge, and without that, we don’t win. It was an incredible play.”

Even coach Bill Belichick was effusive — as much as he’s going to be — in his praise for the receiver/returner.

“Danny’s a tremendous competitor, made some big plays for us,” Belichick said. “I thought, as usual, he handled the punts great, and he had the last punt return that really set us up for the final touchdown.

“Danny’s such a good football player. When you look up ‘good football player’ in the dictionary his picture is right there beside it. It doesn’t matter what it is. Fielding punts, third down, big play, red area, onside kick recovery — whatever we need him to do. He’s just a tremendous player, very instinctive, tough, great concentration. He had some big plays for us today.”

Even the praise that sounded over-the-top may have been warranted.

"“The guy’s got maybe the best hand-eye coordination of any player I’ve ever played with,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “And I played with Randy Moss. His hand-eye coordination is elite. How do you measure that? You can’t. It’s just an in-game thing. I don’t know. He’s just so reliable, so consistent. And I think it just says so much about his character.”

It also speaks to trust developed over the years, and for showing the knack for making the right play at the right time.