Earlier on Monday morning, we wrote about the San Francisco 49ers players reacting to Sunday’s Super Bowl loss. The mood around the locker room and media availability was exactly how you’d expect it to be after a team lost the biggest sporting event in all of sports. Most of the players handled the questions as well as they could. It was still too soon for Emmanuel Sanders, and he answered his questions with a lot of raw emotion.
Sanders media availability lasted roughly 47 seconds. A reporter asked Sanders what route this was on the play below:
Jimmy Garoppolo had Emmanuel Sanders open behind the defense to give the #49ers the lead with just over a minute to go. Missed the throw, and lost the game. Average QB at best. pic.twitter.com/7jDjntFlqY— Alex Ohári ⚪️ (@FutureCanes) February 3, 2020
To which Sanders responded, “What do you think it was? What route do you think it was? What did it look like? What did it look like? What route do you think it looked like?” The reporter asked if it was a “post” route, and Sanders—in a tone that sounds as if he’s mocking the reporter, but that’s honestly been Sanders’s tone all season—said, “yeah, it’s a post route.”
It didn’t stop there, though. The last question Sanders would answer was about how close he was to catching the pass. Sanders said, “How close do you think I was? That’s a dumb question.” That’s built-up frustration knowing the 49ers win the Super Bowl if Sanders catches that pass. The execution was off all quarter for the offense.
While many are screaming into the abyss saying that Shanahan shouldn’t have abandoned the run, we have to acknowledge that both of the passes were easy completions. Also, the 49ers weren’t running the ball efficiently/effective enough to go away from what was working, the pass. Not enough has been made about the false starts from Sanders and Joe Staley that put the Niners offense behind the chains. Or the times where Shanahan did throw the ball after a successful run play, Raheem Mostert gained six yards, and the 49ers threw a quick pass to George Kittle on the next play that went for 12-yards and a first down. It’s never just one play. Ever.
As for Sanders and that third down play, he has every right to be upset at the question. How do you expect him to answer that? That was the case for the majority of questions. “What went wrong?” “What could you guys have done better?” Do better, media.