Danny Amendola didn't look like a man out of place in a Texans uniform, or a wide receiver in search of timing and chemistry after joining the roster less than a week ago.
The veteran slot wide receiver delivered a crisp performance Sunday during his first game with the Texans since signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract last week.
The Woodlands native, former Texas Tech standout and former New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams player caught all five passes thrown to him by quarterback Tyrod Taylor for 34 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown pass over the middle with eight seconds remaining in the first half of a 37-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 35-year-old now has 598 career receptions 5,998 yards and 22 touchdowns.
"When you play in this game that long, and being in this offense before, you talk about a guy that's a playmaker," said wide receiver Brandin Cooks, Amendola's former New England teammate who caught five passes for 132 yards. "He's been a playmaker all his career, no matter where he lined up. He stepped in the room, he's going to make an impact right away. A lot of respect for Danny, and I think he showed that today, as well.”
Amendola's touchdown boosted the Texans' lead to a commanding. 27-7 at halftime.
"That was important because we knew they were going to get the ball coming out, and we needed to be able to sustain our momentum to make sure that they didn't go in at halftime with momentum knowing they were going to get the ball. It was critical and important for us to get that.”
Amendola caught a touchdown pass and two-point conversion from Tom Brady during the New England Patriots’ epic comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium.
In 2001, at the Astrodome days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Amendola was a high school sophomore who helped his team defeat Duncanville with a clutch reception and made it to the state championship in 2003 as a senior in a loss to North Shore.
Now plying his trade for an overhauled Texans team built in the vision of general manager Nick Caserio, a former Patriots executive, being coached by his former Philadelphia Eagles receivers coach David Culley, his position coach from last season with the Detroit Lions, Robert Prince, and joined on the field by starting wide receiver Brandin Cooks, his former New England teammate, and a new quarterback in Tyrod Taylor.
“I’m blessed,” Amendola said days before kickoff. “Spent a lot of time playing here in Texas growing up: Pop Warner, high school ball, college ball. I am the son of a Texas high school football coach (Willie Amendola), so Texas football is definitely in my blood.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 years and has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128