The Crows live to fight another day, but were thoroughly outplayed in the heat of September battle by the finals-hardened Swans.
Adelaide's quarter-by-quarter goal tally read 1, 1, 1, 2, the home side nervy and wasteful in front of goal (5.12) and haphazard when blazing away forward (59-37 inside 50s).
"It looked live like we were panicking with the footy too much," Sanderson said.
"We didn't have the calmness and the poise to lower our eyes, (and) lower our vision to hit the free targets.
"We kept jamming it to high half-forward, which plays into Sydney's hands.
"We allowed Sydney to dominate us in too many facets of the game - we got out-tackled and their method around the ball was a lot better than ours.
"At times we didn't have that poise or composure to be able to hit the free target.
"It's almost like Sydney knew where we were going to kick it.
"Sometimes the anxiety and pressure can get to players a little bit."
Sanderson said it was vital Adelaide learns from the experience and puts those lessons into practice in Friday night's semi-final, in which the Crows will host the winner of Fremantle after the Dockers' elimination final win over Geelong.
"We had a few too many passengers," Sanderson said.
"They were clearly the better side.
"Sydney play a way that stands up in finals and it's not too dissimilar to what we're trying to do.
"We got taught a bit of a lesson in how to play finals footy today.
"We'll be better for the experience ... we won't sit around and sulk."
"They (players) have got to make sure they learn from that.
"It's the big stage now ... they've got a good taste for it.
"Hopefully they don't look upon the experience as a negative one.
"We're not done with yet. We've got plenty of fight left in us."
Adelaide will attempt to progress minus the services of NAB Cup Rising Star recipient Daniel Talia for the rest of their finals campaign, after the young key defender sustained a break in his right forearm in an awkward fall during the final term and was immediately sent to hospital.