Demaryius Thomas has caught heavy, heavy criticism for his play this season.
The Denver Broncos receiver struggled with drops and disappeared for long stretches, including the two postseason contests. Thomas leads the Broncos with 10 drops this season, including playoffs, and his nine regular-season drops were tied for fifth-most in the NFL.
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"He does get a lot of criticism about drops and it's not fair because everybody talks about his drops, but everybody forget he got 1,300 yards this year," Sanders said, via the Denver Post. "Come on man, he's got 1,300! Leave the man alone. Last year he got 1,600."
Sanders has a point. This season, Thomas became just the third player in NFL history with four straight 1,300 receiving yard seasons, joining Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison.
Despite the yardage production, even Thomas knows he has to play better in Super Bowl 50.
"I haven't played my best in the last couple weeks," he said. "I need a better game than I've had the past couple weeks."
In the last two playoff games, Thomas is averaging three receptions per game, 26 receiving yards per contest and caught zero touchdowns. Thomas earned only one touchdown reception in the 11 games Peyton Manning started this season.
But perhaps the duo will click in the Super Bowl.
The last time Thomas was on the biggest stage he recorded the single-game Super Bowl record for receptions with 13.
The Broncos will need that Thomas to show up Sunday versus a thieving Carolina secondary.