Danny 'Playoff' Amendola delivers and sets postseason high for yards

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Without the benefit of film review, a look at who’s "up" and "down" from the New England Patriots' 35-14 win over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night:


Danny Amendola -- Tight end Rob Gronkowski summed it up best when he said, “He’s just Danny 'Playoff' Amendola.” Amendola finished with 11 catches for 112 yards, making this his first career postseason game eclipsing the 100-yard mark. “He’s kind of a guy you take for granted, but he delivered a lot tonight, as he always does,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

Tom Brady -- He finished 35-of-53 for 337 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, breaking the NFL playoff record for most games with three or more touchdown passes, with 10. “Tom did a great job managing the game, got us into some good plays, or out of some bad situations,” Belichick said.

Dion Lewis -- With 15 rushes for 62 yards and nine catches for 79 yards, his playmaking prowess continues to be vital. The offense was struggling to sustain drives until Lewis provided a spark early in the second quarter with a 31-yard catch-and-run.

Josh McDaniels/Matt Patricia -- One of the questions that some ask when coordinators interview for head-coaching jobs is how they balance their responsibilities, and it was a point Belichick highlighted in his opening postgame remarks. “I thought our coaching staff, in particular the coordinators, [it was] a busy week for them, but they did a great job,” Belichick said. Both units were ready to play.

Run defense/pass rush/coverage -- Strong play against the run created 12 third-down situations in which the Titans needed 7 yards or more, which in turn created more pass-rush opportunities. The Patriots set a franchise record with eight sacks, and part of the reason they were able to do that was solid coverage, led by cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Offensive line -- Brady dropped back to pass 53 times and wasn’t sacked once. That’s a job well done by left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Joe Thuney, center David Andrews, right guard Shaq Mason, and right tackles LaAdrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming.


Brandin Cooks -- The wide receiver was targeted nine times and finished with three catches for 32 yards. He still seems to be searching for a consistent connection with Brady. That's not all on Cooks, though, as Brady could sometimes deliver a more accurate football in his direction.

Special-teams penalties -- Lawrence Guy (holding on a punt return), Nicholas Grigsby (holding on a punt return) and Brandon King (unnecessary roughness on kickoff coverage) were all hit with penalties.