Edelman and Amendola FaceTime Tom Brady in Austin

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Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were joined by a special guest on their recent trip to the Lone Star State. Well, kind of. Edelman and Amendola appear to have spent the weekend in Austin, Texas, as both veteran wide receivers took to Instagram to share photos of their vacation. While Amendola’s post featured a boast about the duo’s hair, Edelman’s photo jokingly showed the two giving into a FaceTime session with Tom Brady. In the case of Edelman, there’s a chance Brady decided to reach out to get a head start on offseason workouts. As for Amendola, the New England Patriots quarterback might just miss his former wideout, who departed for the Miami Dolphins in free agency at the turn of the new NFL year. It also appears that Brady is a huge fan of FaceTiming in general. The five-time Super Bowl champion couldn’t even wait until he got home after the AFC Championship Game before jumping on a video call with Rob Gronkowski.

Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola may no longer be teammates, but that’s not stopping the wide outs from continuing their offseason bro-cations.

The duo appears to have spent some time down in Austin, Texas this weekend, enjoying the local scene along with a few drinks. The two documented their trip through their social media channels and in one photo it appears like they gave their pal Tom Brady a quick call.
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The two can be seen looking into Edelman’s phone and by the wide out’s caption, Brady appears to be on the other end.

“Ok, we’ll [FaceTime] TB,” writes Edelman.
While Brady will have plenty of face time with Edelman in 2018 after missing the 2017 campaign due to a torn ACL, the quarterback will be missing one of his more trusted go-to weapons in Amendola. The receiver inked a two year, $12 million deal ($8.25 million guaranteed) with the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason, ending his five year run with the organization.

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In 2017, Amendola was particularly great at elevating his game on third down and Brady would look to him often in those situations. Of his 28 catches on third down this past season, Amendola was able to convert 25 of them for first downs. He also caught all four of his targets on fourth down and converted each of them for a first.

He was also extremely timely in the playoffs earning the fitting nickname “Playoff ‘Dola.” There, he caught 26 of his 33 targets this past run for 348 yards and two touchdowns. One of those two scores ultimately proved to be the game winner in New England’s comeback win over the Jaguars in the AFC Championship to punch their ticket to Super Bowl LII.

For the season as a whole Amendola was able to bring in 61 receptions for 659 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games.

While No. 80 would be out there to provide that clutch play for Brady and the Patriots going forward, it’s nice to see that’s still able to give his old quarterback a quick ring to say hi, proving there’s no bad blood.

As for relationship with Edelman, the two clearly are staying best friends off the field.

One of the more touching moments following Amendola signing his deal with Miami was Edelman’s tribute post saying goodbye to his now former teammate. The Instagram post has the two hugging on the field, draped in confetti following their epic come from behind win against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

They won’t be able to bang helmets on Sunday’s anymore, but clearly they’ve build a friendship through their days in Foxboro that go well beyond the gridiron.

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The Patriots are ready to come home, but they certainly enjoyed their business trip to Mexico City.

The Pats will fly back to New England a happy bunch, now 8-2 on the season and winners of six straight following their 33-8 drubbing of the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City. They did just about everything right for the second straight week, and treated international football fans to quite the show on Sunday.

But this road victory was truly unique. Even with the stadium mostly empty as the Patriots and Raiders hit the field for their pregame warmups, the crowd at Estadio Azteca was loud and ready to go. The Raiders may have been the home team for Sunday’s contest, but the crowd remained electric as the Patriots piled up the points on the scoreboard.

“They were on top of their game,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said of the fans. “It was just a fiesta all over the field.”

“This atmosphere was awesome,” safety Devin McCourty said. “The crowd was crazy. We knew when it came game time they’d be into it. They gave it for four quarters. We definitely appreciate the fans coming out today.”
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“It was definitely a great experience,” said running back Dion Lewis, who got the fans going with a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter. “The fans were very passionate and it was pretty cool to play in a soccer stadium. It got pretty loud and the fans got into it.”

Tom Brady said he enjoyed his time in Mexico City, including the beautiful view from his hotel room and the experience of playing in such a historic stadium. The in-game experience further added to his newfound love of the city.

“It was a privilege for us to be here and play in front of those fans,” Brady said after torching the Raiders for 339 yards and three touchdowns. “It was a great experience.”

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Brady was met with a mix of boos and “Brady!” chants when he first took the field before the game. Those chants shifted more to just his name as the contest continued, surprising the quarterback who often hears lots of dislike from opposing fans. Brady is now 3-0 in New England’s games outside of the United States, adding Sunday’s win to a pair of victories over in London.

“These trips all come down to whether you win or lose,” he said. “You remember when you win. If you lose you want to forget as fast as you can.”

Brady, who had never been to Mexico City before this weekend, said he would definitely be returning in the future.

Many of his teammates feel the same way, but they’ll be happy to be back home after spending over a week on the road. Bill Belichick explained it as a three-leg trip, first starting in Denver for last Sunday’s prime time game, followed by a stay at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to get used to the high altitude that awaited them in Mexico City.

The Patriots couldn’t be more grateful for the hospitality that awaited them at each stop. Bill Belichick took the podium after Sunday’s win in an Air Force sweatshirt.

“I’ll always be a Navy man, but I want to give a shout out and a big thanks to [Lt.] General [Jay] Silveria and his great staff at the United States Air Force Academy for the hospitality and the week that we had there,” said Belichick, before praising his team for their work over the last week-plus. “We really asked a lot of the players, our organization, and they all delivered. We had a great nine days and we really got better as a football team.”

The Patriots will get to spend Thanksgiving week at home before playing host to the Miami Dolphins next Sunday. But after that one-week return to Gillette Stadium, they’ll hit the road for three more road games in Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh.

But if we’ve learned anything from these Patriots, now winners of 12 straight on the road, they can win football games just about anywhere.

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It’s not easy being Tom Brady. Even after he throws a touchdown pass — or tosses one to the other team — there’s always another job to do.

Sunday in New Orleans, without a nickel of extra pay, Brady had to help referee the game, too. Stretching the striped jersey over his shoulder pads would have been a bit of a struggle. But he just could not trust the officials on the field to make the calls, could he?
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Twice, on potentially game-changing plays, the referees initially got it wrong. Brady set them straight.

To pro football fans everywhere, particularly in the 44 states where the Patriots are as admired as pickpockets, there was great irony in watching Tom Brady school N.F.L. officials on the rules of the sport.

And the officials, this time without months of appeal, agreed.

On Sunday, 10 days after a bumbling season opener, Brady threw for three touchdowns and completed 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards in New England’s 36-20 rout of the Saints.

And still he was not happy. His tight end, Rob Gronkowski, dropped a potential fourth touchdown pass in the end zone. Brady threw his hands in the air.

Somewhere, perhaps Gisele Bündchen repeated the most incisive football wife comment of all time: “My husband cannot throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.”

But back to the officials and how Brady rescued the league from another Patriots-versus-the-N.F.L. contretemps.

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The first incident came with the Patriots leading by 13-3 in the final minute of the first quarter. Brady tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Hogan, who was remarkably uncovered as he collected Brady’s throw near the goal line.

But a yellow flag had fluttered to the turf: offensive pass interference. Pointing, shouting and running toward the conferring officials, Brady was not pleased.

Tony Romo, the former Dallas quarterback who was a color analyst with CBS for the game, offered that Brady “was good at winning arguments, too.”

A sideline microphone picked up Brady’s plea: “He was blocked on the line of scrimmage.”

He said it twice. An official tried to lead Brady away, but the quarterback did not appear interested in retreating.

After the game, a reporter told Brady that he had looked like he was being very persuasive.

“Did I?” Brady said with a smile.

Hogan and his fellow receiver Brandin Cooks had crisscrossed on the play, with Cooks planting a sturdy shoulder block on P. J. Williams, the New Orleans defender covering Hogan, allowing Hogan to run away unaccompanied.

It was a classic pick play, one that often results in an offensive penalty.

Except, as referee Craig Wrolstad soon clarified — echoing a loud voice that must have been ringing in his head — there could be no penalty because the defender had been blocked within one yard of the line of scrimmage.

The Patriots led, 20-3.

Romo, with a faint snicker, then suggested that there was “always a little gray area,” when it came to the rule’s enforcement. It was a comment that summed up the way the Patriots have tiptoed along the borders of the rule book for more than a decade.

At the same time, the play was another small illustration of the Patriots’ genius that drives the rest of the league mad. It was about knowing the rules precisely and understanding how to use them to your advantage.

There is little doubt that the New England coaches, in their game preparation, had noticed New Orleans lining up in the tight formation along the line of scrimmage and knew how to exploit the situation. So, obviously, did Brady, who reacted appropriately as soon as he saw the flag.

Two quarters later, with New England leading by 30-13, Brady appeared to make the kind of ill-advised play that had fans wondering last week if he had suddenly slipped into middle age. A wobbly, aimless pass down the sideline was effortlessly intercepted by Saints safety Marcus Williams, who returned the football to the Patriots’ 2-yard line.

The Saints, it seemed, might rally yet.

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Not so fast. The officials had yet to consult with Brady, who was already dashing toward them.

As a group, they gave him a tired “What now?” expression.

As Brady jogged, he held aloft the index finger of his left hand and a peace sign with his right hand. It was not a very complex code.

Put them together, and you have a “12.” As in, one more than the legal number of players a team can have on the field for a play.

“I didn’t see a flag, and I said, ‘What the heck?’” Brady said after the game. “I saw the 12th guy. But the officials said they were going to review it.”

Albeit much later than Brady had, the officials counted 12 Saints on the field. The interception was nullified. The Patriots actually gained 5 yards with the penalty.

“I wish they had thrown the flag right away and took away the drama,” Brady said.

Three plays later, Brady threw another interception. This time the officials avoided a rebuke by Brady, immediately tossing a flag to the ground for defensive holding.

For Brady, it all added up to a redemptive victory. His 447 yards were the most by a 40-year-old player in league history, and the third-highest total of Brady’s career. It was the 52nd time he had thrown three or more touchdowns in a game without an interception, which was an N.F.L. record. Peyton Manning did it 51 times.

Brady acknowledged after the game that he was aware some fans had been questioning after last week’s loss whether he had somehow precipitously declined since winning the Super Bowl seven months ago. One stat provided a stark answer: The victory over the Saints improved Brady’s record in games following a Patriots defeat to 43-10.

“I’m expected to lead us into good plays and to get us playing better when we need to play better,” he said. “Whatever that takes.”

All part of the job(s).