South Brunswick's Mohamed Sanu began his NFL career without recording a single reception until the seventh game of the year for the Cincinnati Bengals.
But after notching the first touchdown reception of his career two weeks ago against the New York Giants, the floodgates opened and the Rutgers University alum followed that up with a touchdown catch last week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
With a two-game scoring streak on the line as the Bengals hosted the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Sanu not only continued his touchdown streak, but he also doubled up his efforts. Sanu found the end zone twice in a 34-10 Bengals win, as he finished with a career-high five receptions for 29 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals have now won three straight games to improve their record to 6-5 while remaining in the AFC playoff hunt.
"It’s also quite a turnaround for the rookie receiver — he struggled throughout camp and did not even make a reception until Week 7," wrote Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke.
Sanu's first touchdown of the game came late in the first quarter with the Bengals ahead 7-0. Facing first and goal from the 2-yard line, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw a fade route towards the sidelines, which Sanu was able to grab with a spectacular one-handed catch that was named one of NFL.com's top five catches of the week.
"You know Mo; he's a big body," star wide receiver A.J. Green told Bengals.com. "A lot of people are talking about how he's not fast, but you know what? He catches everything. He's always running after catches. He's got a big body to tackle. You see him in the backfield lining up as a running back sometimes. It's good to have a guy like that that who can play everything."
Sanu would add his second touchdown of the game on a five-yard pass from Dalton to extend the Bengals' lead to 21-0 in the second quarter.
Sanu's touchdown streak came at the perfect time for the Bengals, as injuries to their corps of receivers allowed Sanu to record his first NFL start. During the three-game streak, the former Vikings star recorded 11 receptions for 98 yards and four touchdowns.
"A.J. Green is going to command a double team on a weekly basis. Teams have to account for tight end Jermaine Gresham, and even when injured wide receiver Andrew Hawkins returns to action, Sanu is going to continue to get looks from Dalton," wrote Rick Weiner of Bleacher Report.com. "No matter who is in the lineup, the Bengals aren't going to get away from what's been working for them, and what's working is targeting Mohamed Sanu."
The Bengals will be back in action Sunday on the road against the San Diego Chargers with kickoff at 4:25 p.m.