Though it would be a bit of a stretch to call him ‘Nostradamus,’ Buffalo Bills wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was eerily predictive while talking about his rapport with quarterback Josh Allen late last week.
“We’re going to work as hard as anybody in the world at trying to get better and try to grow the chemistry,” Sanders told reporters Thursday. “Hopefully, it shows up on Sunday and we’re hitting on every pass, and we go 30 for 30.
“The chances of that happening are slim to none.”
Allen didn’t find Sanders 30 times throughout Buffalo’s Week 3 dismantling of the Washington Football Team, but he didn’t have to.
The five connections for 92 yards and two touchdowns were more than enough.
Sanders played a huge role in what was an offensive explosion for the Bills, greatly aiding in the production of Buffalo’s 43 points and 481 net yards. He was a key cog in what was a return-to-form game for Allen, who finished the dominant win 32-of-43 passing for 358 yards and five total touchdowns.
Allen looked for his 34-year-old wideout early, finishing off the Bills’ first drive with a 28-yard dart to Sanders for the score. He found him for a 41-yard gain later in half before capping off Sanders’ impressive day with a five-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, a strong game for a player that, according to Allen, “does everything right.”
“Guy that just constantly does what he’s asked in the run game and the pass game,” Allen told reporters after the win. “When you’re putting yourself in good position and running your tail off and blocking downfield, opportunities like that are going to be thrown your way. Typically, you’re going to make those plays, because he’s a vet in this league.
“He’s got juice. He’s been great for me, I know he’s been great for the other guys in this locker room. To have that guy who’s been there and done it and won the whole thing, to have his presence, I think that’s huge for us. It’s only going to continue to get better, in my opinion.”
In the days leading up to Buffalo’s Week 3 contest, Sanders stated that his chemistry with Allen was not yet perfect, an “eight” on a 1-to-10 scale.
But on Sunday?
“We were 100 percent today, I think it’s 10 out of 10,” Sanders said. “It fluctuates, but hopefully we can stay at this level right here.”
Though the sample size is, admittedly, small, Sunday’s win over Washington was Sanders’ best as a Bill, a great outing in which he showed just how strong of a fit he is in Buffalo’s offense. He nearly doubled his season-receiving total in the win, this while also notching his first multi-score game since Week 2 of the 2017 season.
As anyone would be, Sanders was excited to score twice in the victory, but he was a bit more excited to further endear himself to Bills Mafia. After scoring his second touchdown, Sanders handed the ball to a child in the front row.
“It felt good,” Sanders said. “It felt really good. I think the best part was handing the ball to that kid and seeing the reaction on him, though. I think that’s what it’s about.
“It was fun. It was a great day.”
Endearing himself to his new fanbase seems to have been a Week 3 goal for Sanders, who was eager to show Buffalo fans what he was capable of entering Sunday’s game. He did so with two touchdowns, a statistical encapsulation of the hard work he puts in each and every week.
“Obviously for me, this is my third organization in three years. You have to prove yourself all the time. When I was in Denver, the fans knew what I could do. To come to this fanbase and prove myself and show everyone what I can do, it feels good. I think it’s just a testament to, at night time, when I close my eyes and go to sleep, it’s all the hard work that I put in.
“Everybody sees the touchdowns and the catches, but they don’t see me limping through the house at four in the morning to go use the bathroom, and stuff like that. It’s just a testament to all the hard work and the perseverance that you go through to try to get a win on Sundays.”
Though Sanders’ outing in Week 3 was objectively a strong one, it was just that – a Week 3 outing.
Buffalo signed the 12-year pro in the offseason to provide a veteran presence, to add Super Bowl pedigree to a team that’s eager to get over the hump. Though his teammates are excited to see him find early success, they’re more excited about what he’s going to continue to bring on-and-off the field as the season progresses.
“He’s been a dog,” safety Micah Hyde said after the game. “We’ve played him in the past when he was on different teams, and watching film, he’s a dog. He’s going to go out there and give his best. He’s going to block if he has to, he’s going to catch, he’s going to do whatever for the team. We know and love that.
“It was good to see him go out there and get a couple of tuddies. There’s a lot of guys like that on this team. You guys heard it, I think he said it earlier this week, he doesn’t care about nothing else but winning a Super Bowl. That’s why we love him, because he’s going to bring it every day and make people better.”