Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Mike Evans spent Saturday night watching an ESPN 30-For-30 documentary about his idol, legendary NFL wide receiver Randy Moss. On Sunday in Tampa Bay’s 27-7 victory at Washington, Evans played like Moss, and even matched one of his NFL rookie records.
With career highs in catches (seven), receiving yards (209) and touchdowns (two), Evans became the latest rookie receiver to have three straight 100-yard receiving games with a touchdown in each one since Moss did it in 1998.
“Randy Moss is a great receiver,” Evans said. “I watched his 30-For-30 [documentary on ESPN] last night. Being mentioned in the same caliber as him, it’s great. The win is more important than anything.
“At the combine I told people that I pattern my game after Brandon Marshall – being a big, physical guy like that. I’m not as fast as Randy, but watching him gives me a lot of hope. The swagger he plays with. I try to do that and model that. I watched [30-For-30] last night. I try to talk a little smack, things like that.”
At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, the Texas A&M product won’t be confused with Moss in terms of speed. Evans isn’t known as a speed receiver, but had catches of 34, 36 and 51 yards, and a career-long 56-yard touchdown against Washington on Sunday.
“I never knew I was slow until the draft came around and the combine,” Evans said. “I was happy about that. I thought, ‘Low expectations – I can meet those easy.’ I just have a long stride, I guess. I’m deceiving.”
On Sunday, Evans did something in Washington that Moss never did. He became the first rookie in NFL history to post at least seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in three straight games.
After one of his touchdowns, Evans paid tribute to Moss by mimicking his touchdown celebration of yesterday – acting like Superman and splitting the defense.
“I didn’t do the Cam [Newton], I did the Randy Moss,” Evans said. “I did that in college and I did that a couple other times this year.”
In addition to tying a Moss record, Evans also became the latest rookie wide receiver to record 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns since Anquan Boldin did it against Detroit in 2003.
“I was there the day Anquan did that and I remember thinking that Anquan caught one ball in the preseason, and I remember thinking that he was going to be special,” said Bucs QB Josh McCown, who played for Arizona in 2003. “Obviously with Mike being the seventh [overall pick] – and Anquan was in the second round – you expect it more [with Evans]. But for him to take over and do the things he did today is special. It’s going to help our team win games.”
Evans’ seven touchdowns this season lead the Bucs and are tied with Michael Clayton for the second-most by a rookie in Tampa Bay history, trailing only Mike Williams’ 11 TDs in 2010. Evans becomes the latest Bucs rookie receiver to score a touchdown in three straight games since Williams did it in 2010.
Evans was eight yards away from breaking the Bucs’ single-season receiving yardage mark of 216 yards, which was set by Vincent Jackson against New Orleans in 2012. But the rookie didn’t care. He was satisfied with helping Tampa Bay win and improve to 2-8 on the season.
“Vincent leads it, right?” Evans said. “That’s cool. He’s a good guy. He can have it.”
Sunday’s game was the type of production that the Bucs had come to expect from Evans, and the reason why Tampa Bay made him its first overall pick in 2014. Evans had massive games against Alabama (seven catches for 279 yards and a touchdown) and Auburn (11 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns) last year in which he eclipsed the 200-yard receiving mark.
With the talent that the Bucs’ rookie possesses, this won’t be the only time he records 200 yards receiving in a game in the NFL. Evans is just getting started.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
We have to give McCown credit here too because he threw some excellent passes to his WR’s. Go Bucs!
Evans = excellent!
Since I bought Evans’ game jersey last week I was worried that he might suffer the fate of the Scubog Player Jersey Curse. He seems like a very mature young man. He makes it look easy.
This young man has made two QBs appear better than they are. Hopefully he will continue that trend with Winston next year.
I guess the question has been answered. Mike E. made Johnny Football. Johnny Football is picking splinters out of his butt and Mike is on his way to being a star in the league.
I have wondered about this for a while, it seems to have merit.
I didn’t even know what the Randy Moss move was. Good read though . . . thanks!
I felt like I learned more about Mike than I knew before . . . Mike obviously keeps to himself . . . a good thing!
Try not to mimic Randy Moss’ big head.
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