HARVEY RELIEF

Denver Broncos star returns home to Houston to help with Harvey efforts

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders recently touched down in Houston to contribute to hurricane recovery efforts. Marcy de Luna

Story originally appeared on Culture Map/Houston.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders recently touched down in Houston to contribute to hurricane recovery efforts.

The Texas-native, who played high school football in Bellville, and college football at Southern Methodist University, has family and a residence in the Bayou City. Thus, the destruction caused by Harvey hit home for the two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl 50 Champion, where he was the leading receiver in Denver's win over Carolina.

According to the Denver Post, Sanders solicited at least $40,000 from his Broncos teammates through the Emmanuel Sanders Foundation to help with relief efforts, with part of the funds going towards 10,000 diapers that were donated to local families in need. Another portion went to food, water, and supplies for Houstonians.

Sanders flew to Houston on a bye week to contribute another $10,200 of the money raised to the Houston Community ToolBank. The tool lending program, a nonprofit organization, puts high-quality tools in the hands of volunteers who are working to repair homes and roofs, as well as restore public spaces.

During his trip home, he met with the media and toured the ToolBank’s facility to see first-hand where the funds are going. “It was important for me to show up and show my face and see who was going to be handling it (the donated funds)," he said. "Now that I’ve seen it, I know that it’s going to a great place and a great cause. I like what the ToolBank is doing, it’s amazing.”

Sanders told reporters it’s been four months since he was last home and was out of town when Harvey hit. He recalled watching the devastation on TV and feeling helpless. “It looked like it was Photoshopped. I thought, ‘That can’t be I-10. That can’t be 59. How is that possible?’ It was definitely devastating to see,” he said.

Sanders also noted that he was grateful to have come out nearly unscathed from the hurricane. "My family came out well. My house got a little leakage in the roof … other than that everybody is good. God is good.”

But Sanders suffered his own misfortune upon returning to Denver. He sprained his ankle late in the third quarter of the Broncos' 23-10 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday and will miss this weekend's game against the San Diego Chargers.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome