Found September 20, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS The memory remains. But it has been cut and creased and crumpled and buried deep in Danny Amendola's mind, because this is a new week and life goes on. He dresses near his locker Wednesday at Rams Park, to the right of a flatscreen television that replayed his Week 2 performance as he scrambled for a mid-afternoon meeting two days earlier. Amendola caught 15 passes for 160 yards with one touchdown in beating the Washington Redskins on Sunday. He ripped Jim Haslett's defense with his speed in the slot, but the St. Louis Rams wide receiver is just as quick to move on to Week 3. "It's over now," Amendola says without hesitation. "I don't think about it too much. I'm worrying about the Bears and trying to get this game prep down and get in the playbook and see what we're going to do for Chicago." Changing focus already? After he recovered from fumbling on the Rams' first offensive play a turnover that cornerback Josh Wilson returned 30 yards for a touchdown? After he tied Reggie Wayne's 2007 NFL record with 12 catches in the first half? After he set a career high for receiving yards on a day when he and Sam Bradford stole headlines from rookie phenom Robert Griffin III? Changing focus already? Yes, and it's not a chore for the Rams' 5-foot-11, 188-pound dynamo. After all, the 15 catches he was targeted 16 times were never a focus for him. "I didn't know about it until I got inside (the locker room Sunday)," Amendola says. "It wasn't something I was real worried about until after the game. It's kind of irrelevant. I was just happy we got that win." That answer shows humility, but his use of "irrelevant" is too much of a shoulder shrug. Look to history as proof: Only former wide receiver Tom Fears had more catches in a single game for the Rams, cradling 18 in a victory over the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 3, 1950. But look to the present for the feat's full impact. Scan the NFL's receiving leaders, and you'll notice the fourth-year Texas Tech product has climbed the leaderboard faster than one of his mid-field cuts: Amendola leads the league in receptions (20) and is third in receiving yards (230). His average of 11.5 yards per catch is the highest for a player with at least 18 receptions. Changing focus already? Defenders must do the same. "A lot of people didn't necessarily know about him, but they will now," Rams tight end Matthew Mulligan says. "Danny, in my personal opinion, runs the best routes I have ever seen. (He's) just so quick, and he's precise, and he's always where he's supposed to be." Amendola wasn't anywhere for most of last season. His left elbow and triceps were twisted like a corkscrew late in a Week 1 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, forcing him to miss the rest of the year. That's what makes his current start more striking. It's a reminder of how lost the Rams were without Bradford's tiny target last season. It's a reminder that they were without someone who earned a career-high 689 yards receiving with three touchdowns in 2010. It's a reminder of how much smoother coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's scheme looks (the Rams have produced 47 offensive points) compared to the slog that Josh McDaniels shuffled out last year (the Rams had 29 points through two games then). "He's got great quickness," Rams coach Jeff Fisher says of Amendola. "He's difficult to cover in the slot. You may get into some situations where people are going to start doubling and taking Danny away, and all that does is create opportunities for the other guys." That's what the Rams hope for. Granted, Amendola is a shrub in the NFL's forest: He draws tired comparisons to New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, but he probably would be no better than a No. 4 option on most teams because of his height. So far, though, the unconventional option has aided the Rams' untraditional start. St. Louis is 1-1 for the first time since 2006 because, in part, Amendola stands tall when he must. Consider: Brandon Gibson (six catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns) is the only other player on roster with more than 100 yards receiving. "I've been waiting to play for a whole year," Amendola says. "I'm ready to get back out there and play again game three. I'm ready to go." Changing focus already? That's good. A short memory leaves room for more to be made. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
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