Emmanuel Sanders didn’t have much time to get familiar with the 49ers playbook last week after he arrived via trade from the Denver Broncos.
Yet the veteran wide receiver, a two-time Pro Bowler, learned enough to catch four of five passes aimed toward him, for 25 yards and a touchdown in a 51-13 rout of the Carolina Panthers.
The 4-yard TD catch in the first quarter launched San Francisco’s scoring blitz, as the 49ers won their seventh straight game to open this season.
Sanders told reporters after the game he had to put in some long study sessions to learn the system.
"I kind of went back to college," Sanders said. "I had the notes with the highlighter pen, studying at night time, studying in the morning."
But it worked out just fine, and now, with the 49ers ready to take on the Cardinals Thursday night in Arizona, figure Sanders will make an even bigger impact on the offense with more familiarity and time with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the rest of his new teammates.
Garoppolo, for one, said Sanders did "a great job" to learn as much as he did before the game, and when he got on the field. Garoppolo anticipates building a chemistry with Sanders for Thursday night’s game and the rest of the season.
"The more you work together, the more reps you get at it, just talking and being on the same page, all those things, play a role in it," said Garoppolo.
It’s likely Sanders will be matched against Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. The eight-time Pro Bowl pick has 24 career interceptions.
Peterson missed the first six games of this season, but in the two games he’s played since his return, he’s made an impact, with an interception, pass deflection, forced fumble, sack and 13 tackles.
The 7-0 49ers and 3-4-1 Cardinals are set to kick off at 5:20 p.m. Oddsmakers have the 49ers as 10-point favorites.