Game Ball of the Week: James Sanders

James Sanders takes matters into his own hands.

The award for the Sprint Week 11 Game Ball had a few contenders.  Of course, there was Tom Brady who once again was accurate as can be on his way to a 19/24, two touchdown game.  There was also the combination of Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis at running back, who set the tone for the Patriots offense.

Ultimately, I went with the Patriots player who made a game clinching play for the second straight week.  In week ten against the Steelers, Sanders intercepted a fourth quarter Ben Roethlisberger throw, bringing it to the house, and giving the Pats an insurmountable lead.  This week, with the Colts driving with less than a minute left, James Sanders came up with another game-sealing play.  Thanks in part to a good pass rush from Jermaine Cunningham, Sanders was able to move off of Jacob Tamme,  jump up and snag an errant Peyton Manning pass intended for Pierre Garcon.

It was a huge play.  And it comes down to this: good players make good plays.  James Sanders has been with this Patriots team since 2005.  He was the starting safety on the Patriots 16-0 2007 team.  After another solid year in 2008, Sanders somewhat surprisingly signed a three year extension worth nine million dollars, which seemed like a good deal.  Yet in 2009, he lost his starting job for a good portion of the season to Brandon McGowan, and much of the Patriot fan base gave up on him.  In fact, many believed he would be a salary-based casualty this training camp.

Without a role, Sanders just continued to work hard.  He's one of those players that's always the first one in to the building, last one out.  He is a leader, smart.  While he's never been the greatest athlete, he makes up for it with his work ethic on and off the field.  This year, while initially expected to be a reserve player, he's played the majority of the defensive snaps.  Last night, we saw all of his hard work pay off yet again.

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