Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Richard Sherman, Seattle’s 6-foot-3, All-Pro cornerback, regularly shuts down even the most prolific receivers in the NFL. That was not the case on Sunday.
With eight receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs 14-5 win over the Seahawks, Mike Evans appeared as the clear winner in the battle of elites on the outside. This was Evans’ 12th career 100-yard day – fourth this season – but this one, against one of his favorite defensive players of all time, meant a little more.
“Looking back at interviews I’ve done, they’d ask you, ‘Who do you want to face?” Evans said in the locker room after the game. “And I always said Richard Sherman. When I got into the league, I had to simmer down a little. I couldn’t be a fan.”
After getting his opportunity, Evans said the matchup was what he expected. While Sherman, playing in Seattle’s zone-based scheme, didn’t cover him on every snap, he followed the Bucs 6-foot-5 receiver for most of the game. That didn’t intimidate Evans, who became just the fourth receiver in NFL history to eclipse 1,000 yards in his first three seasons.
“I knew all his moves, the way his big back pedals and the way he turns his hips,” said Evan, who joins Randy Moss, A.J. Green and John Jefferson. “It was tough some plays. He’s long. But they’re a zone team and we knew the looks that we were going to get, and coach Dirk called a great game.”
Especially in the first quarter, as Tampa Bay came out firing on all cylinders. Evans caught all four targets on the first two drives, including a 26-yard gain on third-and-12 and a touchdown on third-and-goal. His 23-yard score to cap off the Bucs second drive, however, was the catch that summed up the highly anticipated showdown.
Evans walked a few reporters through the second touchdown in the locker afterward.
“It was man-to-man. He was right there and jabbed me with his inside hand,” he said, adding that Sherman told him post game that the TD was a great play, despite complaining to refs at the time. “I grabbed him and pulled through on him.
“That’s what you want,” Evans said of single coverage. “Being one of the best in the world, you want to go against one of the best in the world – one-on-one, man-on-man.”
Jameis Winston, for good measure, was asked about Mike Evans at his press conference. Often referring to Evans as his “superstar,” Winston said he never understands why anyone would be surprised that he trusts his No. 1 target and is always looking to get him the ball.
“Ya’ll always ask me why [I] throw Mike the ball so much. I never understand those questions,” Winston said. “He just played an amazing game today. That’s just the type of guy that he is and that’s the type of player he is. Thank God for coach Koetter putting me in situations to get him the ball.
“Mike Evans is elite,” Winston said. “I say that every week. It’s just a testament that hard work pays off. We worked hard this offseason. He, in particular, worked very hard this offseason. It’s really paying off.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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What impressed me most leading up to this match-up between Sherman and Evans was #13 having no fear and no doubt. Turned out Sherman had no chance against our young superstar.
Mike Evans is the nucleus of the Buc offense around which everything revolves. I’m sitting here scratching my head trying to decide what would be the best complement in the 2017 draft – A Desean Jackson type like WR John Ross/Washington or another Vincent Jackson type like Mike Williams/Clemson.
I could just imagine what he could do if there was another WR threat to draw coverage. Or even a 6-6 pass catching TE working the middle. Either way the Bucs are going to be an offensive tour de force and Evans will be the centerpiece of it for years to come.
Macabee, I think a Vincent Jackson type of player as it suits Winston’s style to throw it up and let them grab it.
I agree that Evans is the nucleus of the team. I would even take it a bit further and say that a high pick on an offensive skill player is not needed because of Evans. I would stick with o-line and defense as the areas to address in the draft. The threat of Evans, a good run game and Jameis’s ability to get the ball to people like Brate/Sheppard/Shorts should be enough to keep opposing defenses spread out.
Mike Evans is really really good. Sherman is really really good. The difference yesterday was attitude. Mike had the attitude that he could consistently beat Sherman. Sherman just had attitude. His ego a lot of times gets in the way. Watching him bitch at the zebras after he got burnt was very satisfying. He is a douche and that’s all there is.
I also believe that his ego allowed him to underestimate Evans. After Carrol smacked him up side his head he played Mike much better.
But the damage was done.14 points scored be Evans against the Big Headed Sherman was all we needed.
But for Mike to be mentioned in any statistical rating with Randy Moss, that’s is just awesome. That’s Randy freakin Moss we are talking about here, The best WR ever in my opinion.
GREAT GAME MIKE
Sherman’s head is no bigger than his actual performance on the field. Everyone who knows anything considers Sherman to be the best corner in the league, bar none, it’s not even close. Mike Evans says that without reservation, and that he tremendously respects Sherman. Sherman showed no disrespect to Mike. That he pleaded his case with the ref after the play is par for the course, I’d expect any good player to ask for the call … Mike Evans used to do a lot of that too, though less of it this season.
Sherman lost this battle to Mike Evans. There will be more battles to come, though we don’t play the ‘Hawks very often. I like to see the best vs. the best and go head to head.
Gee, I wonder where all those fans/critics are who were yapping about “Mike Evans is a bust” last season, mostly because of his relatively high number of drops last season … half of which drops took place in one single game, in a heavy rainstorm, in which Mike had one of his best performances in terms of yards and catches (8 recs for 164 yards), by far the best performance of any receiver on the field in that one game (more than double the yards of the Redskins’ Jordan Reed) … gee, I told all the Evans naysayers last year that they were full of it and that Mike was almost certainly the best receiver ever to put on a Buccaneers uniform.
Only the fourth player in all NFL history to notch over 1,000 yards in his first three seasons of play. And he’s still got another 5 games to play to finish out the regular season. On track for nearly 1,500 yards this season … and he’s still only 23 years old and still learning the game, with a young quarterback who himself is only 22 years old and still years away from his prime playing days.
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