Wide receiver Danny Amendola is a beloved but somewhat controversial member of the New England Patriots' offense. On one hand, it can be argued that he has failed to live up to the five-year free agency contract he signed with the team in 2013. On the other hand, though, he has become a reliable and trusted weapon for quarterback Tom Brady.
And while Amendola has not developed into Wes Welker 2.0, he has made key plays during his time with the team. Super Bowl LI is the latest example of this as he was the target of a) a key fourth down conversion, b) a touchdown and c) the game-tying two point attempt. As has been the case throughout his tenure, he did not see the most playing time but made a big impact when on the field.
A recent graphic published by the Twitter feed of Pro Football Focus puts further emphasis on this. According to the analytics website, Amendola has some of the surest hands of any wide receiver the NFL:
Amendola's 3.7% drop rate of catchables passes ties him for second in the NFL over the course of the last two seasons. Only the Atlanta Falcons' Mohamed Sanu, who played against Amendola's team in the above-mentioned Super Bowl, has proven to be a more reliable wide receiver when it comes to catch rates.
Overall, Amendola was credited with 133 targets over the last two years. Of those, he caught 105 for a combined 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns. Of the non-catches, only five were counted as catchable footballs. While the usage of the 31-year old – mostly running shorter patterns from the slot – naturally gives him an advantage, this is still an impressive and telling number.
Amendola's Patriots career will likely never be defined via his volume statistics and ability to carry the entire offense, unlike Welker's for example. However, this catch rate is yet another example of his best traits: Being a reliable target that has earned the trust of both the quarterback(s) and the coaching staff; trust that led to him being put in high-pressure situations – often with successful results.