Danny Amendola and the NFL's 5 Biggest Gamers

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIINovember 30, 2012

Danny Amendola and the NFL's 5 Biggest Gamers

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    Gamers play their best when everything is on the line. In the NFL, that usually means contests against bitter division rivals and playoff games. There may be slumps and moments of weakness during the season, but when it all counts these guys always step up.

    Danny Amendola has come to epitomize the moniker of a gamer. He always plays his best football when the St. Louis Rams need him most and battles injuries as best he can to get back on the field.

    What other players best fit these criteria?

    Let's look past the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys of the world and discover the top pure gamers in the NFL. 

5. Ben Roethlisberger

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    For a 6'5", 240 pound tank of a QB, Ben Roethlisberger tends to get injured often. Actually, "injured" may not be the right word. "Hurt" may be more appropriate because Big Ben always finds his way back onto the field sooner rather than later.

    Roethlisberger has 22 career fourth-quarter comebacks and 29 game-winning drives. He has won two Super Bowls and is steadily reliable with the game on the line.

    The Steelers' contests with division rival Baltimore are always close games that come down to the last drive or two. What better player to have under center than Big Ben?

    Right now, Pittsburgh is treading water, waiting for Roethlisberger to return for the playoff run. Logic says he will be back in time to give the Steelers a chance to win.

4. Danny Amendola

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    Danny Amendola seems to always be battling injuries, but when the lights shine brightest he steps up and becomes a go-to receiver for the St. Louis Rams.

    Amendola has 576 yards receiving on 73 catches with two touchdowns this season. He has only played in eight games, but the Rams are 4-3-1 with him in the lineup. St. Louis is a lowly 0-3 when Amendola is sidelined.

    He adds a needed dimension to the Rams passing game and has great chemistry with QB Sam Bradford

3. Jason Witten

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    The Dallas Cowboys often seem to be on a roller coaster ride of sorts. One week the team looks like an NFL powerhouse and the next they look incapable of even competing.

    However, one constant through all the turmoil is Jason Witten.

    The perennial Pro Bowl tight end has had at least six receptions in every game since Week 4 this season. In games against the Chicago Bears and New York Giants earlier this season he caught for a combined 279 yards and a touchdown.

    When QB Tony Romo needs to rely on someone to make a big catch and move the chains there is never a question where he will throw the ball.

2. Eli Manning

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    The debate about whether or not Eli Manning is an elite QB may rage on forever, but his ability to play his best in the Giants' most important games is undeniable.

    Manning has won two Super Bowls for a reason. He plays up to the best competition the league has to offer. Last week, coming off of two straights losses, New York squared off with the Green Bay Packers. Manning took his reeling Giants and threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns in route to a 38-10 win.

    Sure, Manning has thrown 140 career interceptions, but he has also led 24 fourth-quarter comebacks and 28 game-winning drives.

    Sounds like a gamer.

1. Adrian Peterson

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    Is there possibly a bigger gamer than a player that comes back early from a torn ACL and MCL and puts himself in the MVP conversation?

    Adrian Peterson knows how to live up to his "All Day" nickname and continues to prove that he is one of the greatest running backs of the last decade.

    Peterson has 7,988 yards and 71 touchdowns in six years of action. He is almost single-handedly keeping the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoff race and is being forced to play his best every single week as his knee continues to grow stronger.

    Peterson has not had fewer than 15 carries in any game this season.