Emmanuel Sanders doesn’t like the change he’s seeing in the NFL.
The Broncos wide receiver said the “league is getting soft” after he was called for a taunting penalty in Sunday’s loss to the Rams.
With Los Angeles leading 6-0 in the first quarter, Sanders pointed his index finger at Rams cornerback Troy Hill after catching a 44-yard score from Broncos quarterback Case Keenum. Replay showed Sanders was down at the 1-yard line, but the flag moved the ball 15 yards back. Denver failed to score and settled for a field goal before eventually losing 23-20.
Emmanuel Sanders just carved up the Rams D. 😳
— theScore (@theScore) October 14, 2018
“To me, honestly, I feel like the league is getting soft,” Sanders said, via ESPN. “I’m having fun. I didn’t do anything crazy to the guy besides say, ‘I got you on that play,’ pointing my finger at him. [The official] threw the flag, which is crazy because I feel like I’ve been in the league nine years and I’ve been pointing at guys, go back and look at my film, I’ve been pointing at guys all the time and saying, ‘I got you on that play.’
“It was a great throw by Case. I came down with a big play, emotions are high. … It’s not like I walked up to him and head-butted him or something crazy. But it cost my team.”
Broncos coach Vance Joseph was proud of his team’s performance but admitted it needed to “play a better brand of football as far as penalties,” adding that Sanders “knows better.”
But even after eight years in the league, Sanders is still learning how to evolve as a player.
“When I look at the scoreboard — we lost by three points — I feel like we could have easily punched that ball in, got four [more] points,” Sanders said. “I don’t see the penalty in that. … I’ll learn from it. … I’ll keep chugging along.”
The Broncos (2-4) will have a short week to recover before visiting the Cardinals (1-5) on Thursday.