New England Patriots receiver Danny Amendola has long made up for his 5-foor-11, 188-pound frame with intangibles and hustle plays, but he took that extra effort to the extreme in Saturday’s divisional round playoff game against Kansas City with an illegal hit.
Early in the second quarter, Amendola laid into Jamell Fleming as the Chiefs’ cornerback tried to down a Kansas City punt deep in Patriots’ territory. The clearly illegal hit was flagged for unnecessary roughness, though because the hit occurred inside New England’s 5-yard line, it only cost them roughly 2 1/2 yards.
Immediately, social media began to draw comparisons to the hit delivered by Cincinnati’s Vontaze Burfict last weekend against Pittsburgh and comparable ones in college football games that occasionally result in ejections.
Burfict has been suspended for the first three games of next season for a series of malicious hits including one that last weekend that kept Steelers’ wide out Antonio Brown out of Sunday’s game against Denver. In college, targeting rules allow officials to eject players for launching or spearing defenseless players.