The best play Miles Sanders has made all season is the one he didn’t make.
Yesterday’s tight 15-13 win for the Carolina Panthers probably wouldn’t have happened without a huge fourth-down conversion during the final minutes of the game. Down by a point and needing two yards to keep their last drive going, quarterback Bryce Young squeezed a pass into the hands of wideout Adam Thielen to move the sticks just past midfield.
But that pass was nearly found by the hands of Sanders . . .
THIS Miles Sanders heads up play pic.twitter.com/UAN38kld4Q
— =͟͟͞Blande (@JustBlande) October 29, 2023
On Monday, head coach Frank Reich attributed Sanders’ placement to an incorrect route.
“Yeah,” Reich replied when asked if his running back ran the wrong route. “There was a miscommunication. So, hats off to Adam. Hats off to Adam because you’re breakin’ out, expectin’ the ball on time—and then all of a sudden, you see Miles runnin’ at ya and it can be a big-time distraction, to both Adam and to Bryce throwing it.”
Luckily, the play was made and the rest is now history. The Panthers capped off their 15-play, 86-yard possession with a walk-off field goal by kicker Eddy Piñeiro to clinch the much-needed victory.
Sanders, however, has struggled to settle in after signing a four-year, $25.4 million deal this past spring. He’s rushed for just 190 yards and one touchdown on 63 carries, which puts him at a career-low average of 3.0 yards per attempt.
Week 8 may have been a new low on the campaign, as he failed to register a single yard on two totes. So, Reich was then asked how the team can help get their pricey rusher out of his slump.
“I think it happens a couple different ways,” he said. “One thing is feed him the ball. You can get him some touches. And then sometimes, it’s just a question of—as a player—hey, even if it’s limited touches, I have to make the most of what touches I get and what plays I’m in.
“I/we have a lot of confidence in Miles. Chuba [Hubbard] is gettin’ the bulk of the carries with the way our run game is goin’. He’s a more physical, downhill runner. But Miles is a great player. And so, we wanna continue to mix it up.”
Hubbard, following a season-high 88 rushing yards in Week 6, led the backfield with 15 rushing attempts on Sunday.