FOXBORO — Julian Edelman’s playoff legend was built on the double pass to Danny Amendola, the fourth-quarter eruption against the Seahawks, and the diving, double-clutch miracle of a reception in the closing minutes against the Falcons.

And then Edelman’s playoff legend was put on hold.

As the Patriots fell short in last year’s Super Bowl, Edelman was in the midst of his ACL rehab, not quite five months removed from surgery. He’s been itching for postseason football ever since.

“He lives it,” said Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett. “He’ll die for it. He’s one of those guys. We’ve got a lot of guys like that in this locker room, honestly. I think that’s why we do so well sometimes.”

Edelman has kept a low profile the past few days, at least when the locker room has been open to reporters. He’s been omnipresent on social media, kicking off Chargers week with a “Beat LA” hype video. He’s carried the enthusiasm to work, occasionally providing a not-so-subtle reminder of the enormity of this weekend. He’ll walk around the facility shouting “Playoff Week!” to anyone within earshot, said teammate Matthew Slater.

This isn’t much different than regular-season Edelman, who according to Slater will spend the week intermittently yelling, “Trap Game!” or whatever phrase he sees fit.

Playoff Edelman does crank it up a notch, though. That’s what the numbers suggest.

Since the 2014 postseason, a run that began with the Patriots’ epic comeback against Baltimore and ended with Edelman shredding the Seattle secondary (and absorbing a few crushing blows along the way), he’s averaged 97 receiving yards per game in the playoffs. For comparison, Edelman has averaged 70.9 receiving yards in the regular season during the same span.

Tom Brady has always relied heavily on Edelman, throwing his way 12.8 times per game in the playoffs.

And this winter, Brady needs Edelman more than ever before.

That’s true not only because of what Edelman has been – ridiculously consistent since returning from a four-game PED suspension – but because of what’s around him.

Josh Gordon had emerged as a game changer by the time the NFL handed down an indefinite suspension. Now he’s gone. Rob Gronkowski’s decline has been well documented (the good news: Gronkowski has converted on 10 of 22 third-down passes thrown his way, and the bulk of those were in third-and-long situations). Chris Hogan has been seldom used in critical situations; he’s converted on 4 of 11 targets on third or fourth down. The running backs, particularly James White, have been dependable, but they can’t help much if the Patriots find themselves in third-and-long against a surging Chargers defense.

It’s all Edelman, who’s essentially maintained peak form in his ninth NFL season.

“Well, I never would have known he’s 32 until you said it,” said Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn. “He looks quick, man.”

When Brady throws to Edelman on third-and-4 or shorter, he’s converted 6 of 12 opportunities (not including plays negated by penalty). Edelman has been surprisingly efficient on third-and-6 or longer, keeping drives alive on 5 of 11 chances. There’s buzz about Edelman’s drops, but the fact is his catch rate – 68.5 percent – is substantially higher than it was during a career-best 2016 season.

On Sunday, Edelman likely will draw All-Pro defensive back Desmond King, a second-year player who shut down slot receivers all season. It’s a monumental matchup for both sides.

“They have those (slot) receivers through the whole program, through the whole organization,” King said this week. “Watching film will definitely help me, knowing (Edelman’s) scheme and what kind of routes and combinations he’s going to be doing.”

King can expect Edelman’s top game. By now, the Patriots certainly do.

“For a guy to be able to take himself to that place, take it up another notch, it’s really impressive, especially with the way that he plays already,” Slater said. “Those big moments, when you really need him to be at his best, he finds a way to do it.”

This will be the eighth postseason shared by Slater and Edelman, longtime roommates and close friends. There’s been a core group of Patriots intact for the current streak of seven consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances, from Edelman to Slater to Devin McCourty to Stephen Gostkowski and of course Brady.

“It is special, because we don’t know when we’re going to be in this position again,” Slater said.

If the group has another Super Bowl in it, Edelman needs to be the catalyst. The Patriots will lean on him, even more than they have in the past, hoping that his playoff legend still has room to grow.