Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Ramsey: Emmanuel Sanders erases memories of Eric Decker

August 24, 2014 Updated: August 24, 2014 at 9:00 am
0
photo - Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) celebrates his touchdown against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) celebrates his touchdown against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) 

DENVER - The text arrived at halftime from one of Colorado's most smitten Eric Decker fans. She is not alone. Tens of thousands of Decker devotees, mostly female, reside in our state.

"Eric who?" the text asked.

The text shouted an important message about the 2014 Broncos.

Emmanuel Sanders has arrived.

In the space of 68 seconds, Sanders erased a multitude of doubts. With 1:17 left in the first half of an 18-17 loss to the Houston Texans, he trashed double coverage and ran under a high-arching, superbly thrown pass from Peyton Manning for a 67-yard touchdown.

But his show had only started. With nine seconds left in the half, Sanders made a lunging, reach-as-far-as-he-could catch at the goal line. The first TD had been mostly a result of Manning's utter mastery. The second TD revealed a determined, gifted receiver.

The crowd was howling with joy after the second TD, and Sanders made the most of his moment. He offered a dramatic bow, and his gesture made sense. This served as his introduction to the masses at Mile High.

Sanders, who played for the Steelers last season, understands the task ahead of him. He knows Decker caught 172 passes for 2,352 yards and 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons. He knows John Elway signed him to replace No. 87, who earned the adoration of Broncos fans.

"You know, I always hear words about Eric Decker and that I'm here to replace Decker," Sanders said early this month. He smiled while he shook his head.

He has another plan.

"No, I'm not here to replace Decker. I'm here to be Emmanuel Sanders, and that's all I can be. I'm not trying to talk about myself in the third person, but that's all I can be."

August had been a frustrating month for Sanders. He suffered a thigh injury Aug. 4, and the pain drained his explosive speed. When Denver roared to 34-0 win over the 49ers Aug. 16, Sanders didn't join in the offensive fun.

He wasn't the only one frustrated. On Wednesday, Sanders received his own text, and it came from a man with healthy respect for Decker.

The text was sent by Manning, who encouraged the hobbled Sanders to join him on the field.

Their meeting carried plenty of drama. On first down from the Broncos 33, Manning retreated into the pocket and pumped once while he enjoyed superb protection from the line.

Sanders burst free. This was one of the plays where you could see the ending even before Manning released the ball. You knew Sanders would arrive in the end zone.

Preseason games are primarily glorified practice, an excuse for NFL owners to squeeze more millions of dollars from fans.

But there are moments that allow a glimpse into the future.

-

Twitter: @davidlukeramsey

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.