Even though the New England Patriots are now 8-1 after a 37-20 loss against the Baltimore Ravens during primetime football on Sunday night, the Week 9 loss did have a bright spot in it for New England: Mohamed Sanu.
It’s no secret quarterback Tom Brady wanted Sanu on the team, and it's obvious after Sunday night that the 42-year-old veteran can clearly see what will work best for his team.
In the wake of a fair amount of offensive switching and line changes, consistency has been a problem all season. Sanu’s arrival to the Patriots couldn’t have come at a better time. As a veteran player like the QB that pushed for him, the 30-year-old wide receiver came to the team without expectations of gelling with the team in a matter of days.
But even without those expectations, Sanu still rose to the occasion.
Sanu started his time in New England with a bang. In his first game last week against the Cleveland Browns, which was just days after he had been traded to the Patriots, he caught two passes for 23 yards. His first catch was for four yards, but set a precedent for what can be expected from him for the rest of the season: commitment, consistency, and the ability to build trust and confidence with his new team.
Week 9 brought the Patriots their first loss of the season, but it also brought out some incredible work between Brady and Sanu. In the second quarter, Brady found Sanu in the end zone and finally put six points on the board with their first touchdown of the game, and Sanu’s first touchdown as a Patriot. Minutes later, Brady flipped the ball to the WR again, and they moved the chains for decent yardage.
Finishing the game with 14 targets, 81 yards, a touchdown and 10 catches (ties a career high for Sanu) under his belt, Sanu is definitely cementing himself as a reliable player for the Patriots offense, and is resonating with fans.
"I think everybody liked Mohamed (Sanu)," Tom Brady said last Friday during his press conference when asked if he had lobbied for the team to acquire Sanu. "So, yeah. Everybody liked him. Everybody likes him, that's why he's here. So, it's great to have him. I'm excited for him, and again, the more we work together, the better it's going to be. It's hard to be on the same page within a week, so we're just going to try to communicate through things and talk through them. There's a lot of things that come up in that game, practice, past games, things that he's done, things that we've done that - football's a game about anticipation. So, the good part is that a veteran player, you know how to play football. It's not like a rookie that they don't know what the real expectation is.
"I mean, he's been a part of some great offenses, so it's really incorporating him into what we do and him learning the terminology, so that he can play fast and we can play with anticipation together. And then he's running the routes where I expect them to be, so I can play with anticipation. And then you gain trust, then you gain confidence. And then once you gain confidence, you can go out and execute really well. So, it's hard to skip anything in that process. It's just a reality of football. If you try to think that it's going to come together in a day or two, those are probably unrealistic expectations. But, every time we go out there, we're trying to be a little bit better and lead to better execution."
Heading into a bye week, there will be more time to study the playbook and build chemistry and rhythm between Sanu and his new teammates. From the looks of what he was able to do in his second game as a Patriot, Week 11 against a lowly Eagles secondary should be a massive opportunity for Sanu.