With little at stake in a blowout win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Emmanuel Sanders took some time to enjoy a payday.
With 2:11 remaining in the third quarter, Sanders caught a nine-yard pass from Drew Brees to convert a first down. He flipped the ball to the turf, threw his hands up over his head and was joined in celebration by fellow Saints receiver Marquez Callaway.
So why the big deal? It was a relatively meaningless play in a game the Saints led 26-7.
Big payday for Saints WR
It turns out it meant a lot to Sanders. He entered the day needing eight catches to reach 60 receptions on the season — a mark that would trigger a $500,000 contract bonus. That was catch No. 8.
He finished the day with nine catches for 63 yards, a touchdown and a half-million more pre-tax dollars in his bank account. The Saints secured a 33-7 win in the process. Not a bad for a day’s work.
Saints fall short of No. 1 seed
New Orleans entered the day with an outside shot at the No. 1 seed and the lone first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. But they needed some help from the Green Bay Packers that they didn’t get.
The Packers clinched the top seed with a win over the Chicago Bears, leaving the 12-4 Saints relegated to the No. 2 seed, which is not good for a first-round bye this season in a playoff field expanded to seven teams in each conference.
Instead of a week off, Sanders and the Saints will prepare to host a wild-card game next week against the No. 7 seed Bears. But there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some extra cash in the meantime.
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