Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is second on the team in receptions with 20 but has only caught 52.6% of the passes thrown his way. While he has only dropped one pass that he should have caught, it’s easy to suggest that he might not be on the same page with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to start the season.
Sanders, who is perhaps the best route runner on the team outside of tight end Heath Miller, certainly wasn’t one with his quarterback in the third quarter Sunday in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings and it resulted in an interception on one particular play.
On a first down play with just under six minutes to go in the third quarter, Sanders zigged when he should have zagged and Roethlisberger head faked when he should have just threw the ball. As a result, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was given a gift interception and the Vikings offense turned that gift into seven points just two plays later.
Following the interception, Sanders visibly showed his frustration instead of first focusing on tackling Greenway. Thankfully, center Fernando Velasco was there to make the tackle.
Sanders is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season and he knows he needs a good season in order to cash in. His actions Sunday will certainly catch the ire of head coach Mike Tomlin and it will be interesting to see how it is handled as a result.
I’m sure that Sanders isn’t the only player that’s frustrated after an 0-4 start, but that frustration should never show during a play. Sunday wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Sanders do this as he did it the previous week against the Chicago Bears following a fumble by running back Felix Jones. With the ball still laying loose on the ground, Sanders turns his back to it after missing a block on the play.