“I was just trying to do anything I can to help the team," Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu said after Sunday's 37-37 tie against the Carolina Panthers.
And there's no doubt about it. Sanu made the most of his opportunity.
With A.J. Green and Marvin Jones out against the Carolina Panthers, Sanu, a former third-rounder from the 2012 NFL draft, comfortably stepped into the role of No. 1 receiver. When it was over, Sanu posted a career-high 10 receptions for 120 yards receiving, including a 34-yard touchdown reception... his second touchdown of over 30 yards in as many games.
"Mo had a big day and was able to step up, and he’s a guy who has been around for a while and we have a good feel for each other," Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said, who targeted Sanu a game-high 14 times. Jermaine Gresham was the second-most targeted player and that was with only seven targets.
Sanu converted three third down opportunities but also wiped out chunks of yards on long-distance to go situations. With 2:32 remaining in the third quarter, Sanu fought through a tipped Andy Dalton pass to gain 16 yards, reducing a second and 23 into a manageable third and six. Six of his receptions led to first downs.
The third-year receiver also snagged a 22-yarder to wipe out a first-and-20, prior to his touchdown reception. With 11:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, Dalton arched a beautiful pass down the left sidelines where Sanu worked through tight coverage from Panthers cornerback Melvin White to haul in the 37-yard touchdown.
And when Sanu wasn't catching footballs, he was headlining a key block during Brandon Tate's first quarter touchdown that tied the game at seven.
Sanu figures to be a key weapon next week with A.J. Green expected to miss an important conference game against the Colts in Indianapolis.