By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Emmanuel Sanders is in the midst of an exceptional season, eclipsing the 1,000-yard receiving mark on a team that does not have an exceptional quarterback. There’s no denying what Sanders has done this year.

But on Sunday vs. the Patriots, Sanders did very little. He caught just three passes for 48 yards — and 20 of those yards came on Denver’s final drive, when the Patriots were essentially playing prevent defense while leading by 13 points in the final minutes of the game.

Much of Sanders’ silence on the stat sheet had to do with the excellent coverage of Malcolm Butler. The third-year corner drew the duty of covering Sanders for most of the afternoon, and he surrendered just one reception for 21 yards.

As such, Butler has received praise for his work in keeping Sanders quiet. That praise, however, is not coming from Sanders himself, as the receiver did not enjoy hearing how well Butler did in keeping him in check.

(Misspelling Malcolm Butler’s first name was, surely, not a mistake.)

Butler, for his part, hasn’t tweeted anything since the game ended, except for this:

Butler did speak to CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran after the game, noting that Sanders had historically won his matchups with Butler prior to Sunday.

“I came here a couple times, and he handed it to me a couple times. I’d say he had an upper edge on the battle up until today,” Butler told Curran. “But great guy. Love him. Just came out here to compete.”

To everyone except for Sanders himself, the play on the field said all that needed to be said.

Just watch out for Princeton Sanders when he becomes eligible for the NFL draft in 18 years or so. Kid sounds like a player.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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