This is the most hidden ability a wide receiver has. The ability to command a cornerback like Patrick Peterson, or shift coverages, or alter formations. The best wide receivers in the game make an impact every play because they make it easier for everyone else on the field.
Emmanuel Sanders isn’t in that top echelon of receivers, but his impact is undeniable.
From my eye, it looks to be a bench inverse, where the inside receiver runs an intermediate out while the outside receiver runs a corner-route. Although it’s hard to tell from this angle, Patrick Peterson, matched up on Pettis from this play, is held shallow by Sanders.
Because of this, Pettis has a quick break to the corner, allowing Garoppolo to make that throw. It all happened because Peterson respected Sanders enough.
This is the impact of a veteran receiver like Sanders. These clips are only a small glimpse of how he’s elevated this passing attack.