FAB 2. Evans A Legend In The Making

It wasn’t a great game for Buccaneers star wide receiver Mike Evans. Heck, it wasn’t a great game for anyone from Tampa Bay wearing white, pewter and red in Chicago on September 30 as the Bears trounced the Bucs, 48-10, and sent them into their bye week reeling and embarrassed.

Bucs WR Mike Evans - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

But something good did happen in Chicago. Although he didn’t catch a touchdown for the first game all season, and he didn’t post a 100-yard receiving game as he did at New Orleans and at home against Pittsburgh, Evans did catch six passes for 59 yards versus the Bears.

Why is that significant?

Because now Evans has 338 catches for 5,005 receiving yards to go along with his franchise-record 35 touchdowns, which is the most career TDs by any Buccaneer.

Evans needs just 14 yards to become the Bucs’ all-time leading receiver, surpassing Mark Carrier’s 5,018 yards from 1987-92. That could come on Evans’ first reception on Sunday in Atlanta.

Keep in mind that Evans will have owned two of the most significant receiving records – yards and touchdowns – by the age of 25. Should he remain healthy, Evans could very well play for at least another seven years.

When told Evans about the record that is about to fall he was bewildered.

“I had no idea,” Evans said. “I’ve been fortunate. I played right away. I was a first-round pick, so I started getting balls right away in my rookie year. I’ve been a number one target since my rookie year and I’ve just been very fortunate to be in that position.

“It’s cool to break records but I don’t just want to break team records, I want to break world records. The Bucs have never really had a receiver be here that long to accomplish those things so I’m happy to be the first guy, set in stone, maybe after Mark and [Vincent Jackson] to play longer than them here. That’s the goal, to be the top guys with the Bucs and in the NFL period. It’s just something to keep chasing. That’s why records are there, so people can chase them and I’m going to do that. When I play, I’m trying to chase W’s too.”

Bucs WR Mike Evans - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Through the first four games of 2018, Evans has caught 29 passes for 426 yards and three touchdowns, which places him in a three-way tie for the team lead with fellow receivers DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin. With his touchdown catch against Pittsburgh on September 24, Evans caught his 35th TD pass and surpassed Bucs Ring of Honor member Jimmie Giles’ previous record of 34, which was set 32 years ago in 1986.

Evans is on pace to finish this season with 116 catches for 1,704 yards and 12 touchdowns. If that were to happen, the receptions and yardage Evans would accumulate this season would set new Tampa Bay records, and his 12 touchdown catches would tie his own record that he set as a rookie in 2014 and tied two years in 2016 when Evans made his first Pro Bowl.

So what other Buccaneers records is Evans chasing? Let’s take a look.

• Having the career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns records are two parts of the triple crown for any team’s leading receiver. The third for Evans will be the setting Tampa Bay’s career receptions mark. The current record is 430 catches by former running back James Wilder. Evans is 92 catches away from that milestone, and that record will probably have to wait until next year to fall.

• While Evans has recorded 12 touchdowns in a season twice, setting a new team mark for single season receiving TDs, Wilder set the record for the most touchdowns in a Bucs season with 13 rushing scores in 1984.

• Evans has had several two-touchdown games, but it wouldn’t be out of the question if he tied or broke Tampa Bay’s single-game record of four scores set by Giles in 1985 and tied by running back Doug Martin in 2012.

• Keyshawn Johnson set a team record for the most catches in a single season with 106 in 2001. Evans recorded a career-high 96 receptions in 2016 en route to his first and only Pro Bowl appearance. He’s currently on pace to hit 116 catches this year, as previously mentioned.

Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images

• Evans had five 100-yard games in 2015, but would nine this season to tie Mark Carrier’s record for most 100-yard games in a season, which was set in 1989. Evans already has two this year in four games.

• Speaking of Carrier, his 1,422 receiving yards in 1989 were the most in a single season in Tampa Bay history. Evans came close in 2016 with 1,321 yards, which ranks third in team history, and is currently on pace to smash this record.

• Evans came very close to eclipsing Vincent Jackson’s single-game receiving yards record of 216 set in 2012 with a 209-yard performance at Washington as a rookie in 2014. Most would agree that Evans has the talent to top 216 yards at some point before the age of 30.

• Wilder set the Bucs franchise record for catches in a game with 13 back in 1985, and that mark was later tied by running back Earnest Graham in 2007. Evans came close to tying that mark back in 2016 with an 11-catch game against Atlanta.

Will Sunday’s game against the Falcons be the day Evans challenges that mark? Historically, Evans has done well against the Falcons (see Fab 5).

Bucs WR Mike Evans - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images

“I think it’s that they play more man than New Orleans and Carolina,” Evans said. “New Orleans plays more man now, I guess because they’ve got better corners. The Falcons always play man and they’re pretty simple, they want it to be a one-on-one game. I love one-on-one matchups. That’s always tough for a DB going against a top receiver.”

Not only has Evans played well against Atlanta, he’s done well against just about everybody, amassing over 5,000 yards in just over four years and accomplishing so much. Another Bucs receiving record will fall on Sunday at the hands of Mike Evans.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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fredster
1 year ago

We are 1-3? 2-2 last time I checked. Lol

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Buc stops here
1 year ago
Reply to  fredster

Overall against Atlanta, not this season I think that sentence is reading.

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fredster
1 year ago

Don’t mean to sound negative and That’s great about the records with Evans but it would be great if he didn’t have at least one huge easy drop every game too.

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Buc stops here
1 year ago

Here is the problem with this statistical match up – the Bucs offense is not the same as it was the first four weeks, there is a different QB. No one knows how Winston will do. Most assume he will do the same or better, but there is a chance he will do worse. Namely, throw more INTs which has been something of an issue for him at times. If he does not the odds are we will see the same or better.

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thewbacca
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

We’ve also seen a couple of o-lines, and a couple Fitzpatricks. Can’t put this all on either QB.

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stlbucsfan
1 year ago

Dirk is just slow to the draw, he’s a day late and a dollar short for everything. Took him a whole season and strong urging from management to turn over play calling despite the mounds of evidence that his offense wasn’t that good and the overall game management was terrible. It’s taken him 3 seasons and he still can’t see that Mike Smith is either awful or has no idea how to assemble a formidable defense in todays NFL. He says in one breath competition is key and that those who earn playing time will play then rolls Brent Grimes… Read more »

surferdudes
1 year ago

You play the way you prepare. I saw practice photo’s from yesterday, and the Bucs were outdoors, but are playing in a dome Sunday. Why not practice in that expensive indoor facility the Glazer’s bought you? It’s like needing a screw driver for a job, but using a hammer instead. Should we win the opening toss I hope Koetter doesn’t put his garbage defense on the field first cause we’ll be playing from behind the rest of the day. The Saints took the opening kick off against us, and easily scored. We were lucky to keep pace in that game,… Read more »

Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  surferdudes

Teams who win the toss defer because if your defense gets them off the field you now have an opportunistic advantage to score first in both halves. It’s always worth it to defer. If you put your offense and they go three and out, now you’ve just gave that opportunity to your opponent, and the momentum. As far as the coin toss goes against the Bears, Koetter had no idea they would go into the locker room at the half down by 30. I don’t think anyone did. No one will ever know what the halftime score will be at… Read more »

stlbucsfan
1 year ago

The last reason Dirk is terrible is because of what he’s asked Jameis to do since drafting him. Which is run a vertical passing attack with no running game or defense. No young QB in the league has been asked to do more offensively with less. People look at the WRs and TEs and think that his numbers should be better but that has never been how you help young QBs flourish. Dak flourished in Dallas when they ran the ball and consistently controlled the line of scrimmage, his line hasn’t been the same this season and we see how… Read more »

Kirby
1 year ago
Reply to  stlbucsfan

I agree 💯 percent

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e
e
1 year ago

One of my favorite Mike Evans plays was when he out sprinted Marshon Lattimore for a TD at the beginning of the year. Marshon is a good young DB, but he didn’t respect Evans speed. Looks like Evans offseason workouts paid off and Lattimore lay prone on the carpet wondering how he got past him.

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Naplesfan
1 year ago

Making game predictions, including predicting the character of a game (offensive shootout, defensive struggle, etc.), is a very good way to look the fool. Seriously, how many experts in the media or commenter world predicted that Trubiskey and the Bears would put on an offensive clinic in just the last game we played? Besides nobody in the entire universe. I chuckle in thinking about all the times people predicted shootouts, and instead a defensive struggle ensued … and vice versa. Our defense has been historically bad all this season .. but nobody can guarantee that they won’t suddenly find their… Read more »

BucWild02
1 year ago
Reply to  Naplesfan

It’s either going to be a shoot out or a blow out. It will not be a game with offensive ineptitude from both squads. These defenses are too short handed and these offenses are too explosive. It’s pretty straight forward.

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Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  Naplesfan

The opening line in Vegas for this game had it at a 57 o/u -3.5 Atlanta. That my friend is considered a “shootout” by the foremost experts in the world of sports gambling. And it’s because of people thinking like you that Vegas keeps growing taller and brighter. But I like your positive thinking, and I also think to myself, “What if the Bucs figured something out on defense over the bye and come into their own?” This is probably why I do not gamble. It’s hard for me to side with my head and bet against my heart. But… Read more »

BucWild02
1 year ago
Reply to  Dude

Just a note about Vegas lines. The point is to have 50% of people bet one way and 50% of people bet the other way. When you lay -110 for the over or under, the house gets the 10%. It has less to do with what happens and more to do with perception of the public to bet equally for both sides.

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fredster
1 year ago

It will be high scoring. If Bucs can protect we have a chance. O line better play much better Atlanta has decent pass rush even though secondary has issues like ours.

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Buc76
1 year ago

Think Lovie Smith a few years back on national TV. You’re about to see it again. 56-10 Falcons. This coaching staff has lost this team. It’s over. The season was over before it started. They all need to go!

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BucWild02
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc76

Slow down there big fella. The team fully supports Koetter. It’s obvious. When players don’t like a coach, they usually are split down the middle and half run their mouth about playing time or play calling or scheme or whatever, while the other half just keep grinding through it. Remember Schiano? Toes on the line!! They couldn’t wait to see him gone. Half called him out, half kept quiet. Side note- Personally, I thought Schiano had a chance to get the most out of the defensive core they were building. McCoy and David were never better than they were under… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB
1 year ago

Let me get this sorted in my head a QB with a 114.4 QB rating that in 3.5 Games throw 1356 yards average 387 yards a game with 11 touchdowns is benched for a QB with a lifetime rating of 87%
and no one on this site other than me questions the total combined intelligence of the management and coaches of this team.
Will be interested to see how this works out, no defence and QB that average 87% rating that likes to throw ints and likes to fumble when pressured.
Imagine that !

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Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  BUC-ASS-BOB

The correct spelling is “defense” and “offense” (offense misspelled in an earlier post by someone else).

Man, I’ve said it before, you dudes can’t spell! Even when you probably have a little red squiggly line below a misspelled word pointing out the error for you. I’m not trying to be condescending here, but seriously, it kills the credibility of your post. Whose going to listen to someone who can’t spell elementary grade words?

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Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  Dude

Just trying to make the world a better place one word at a time. Well, maybe two words in that post!

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BucWonder
1 year ago
Reply to  Dude

“Whose” is improperly used in your post about grammar. Proper grammar would be “Who’s” which means “Who is”.

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Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  BucWonder

Because it is used in the plural form of asking a question to multiple people, ‘whose’ is acceptable grammar and usage here.

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Naplesfan
1 year ago
Reply to  Dude

Dude, you ARE condescending, and you are a liar in claiming that is not your intent to be a condescending dick when you clearly revel in being a condescending douchebag. As for spelling, asswipe, comments are comments and not paid publications, and apparently you are too stupid to notice that there are no red squiggly line spell checkers in the comment generator on this website. Finally, dickwad, if you are going to post a stupid condescending rant about other commenters not spelling every word correctly, then don’t stupidly make a far dumber grammatical error by using “whose” when you should… Read more »

Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  Naplesfan

So your going to result to name calling?

I used to think that most posters here were adults, but clearly that is not the case. In which, most adults should know how to spell elementary grade words, and then not result to name calling when someone tries to help out with their spelling.

Just for the record, the red squiggly line comes from your own browser, not the website. Browsers started using them like over 10 years ago.

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BucWild02
1 year ago
Reply to  BUC-ASS-BOB

It’s not that you’re the only one BucAssBob. Its just not logical to leave Fitz in there. Fitz is gone after this year. Jameis may or may not be gone after NEXT year. This is the year they have to figure it out with him. He was drafted #1 overall. He will be the future or they’ll likely all be gone.

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Horse
1 year ago

So if I am the Falcons offense I am going to throw short passes until the blitz makes me throw deeper.
So if I’m the Falcons defense I am respecting Winston’s mobility and pressing the WR’s.

What do I expect from the Bucs defense; not reacting fast enough to what they are doing in order to change the vanilla scheme.
What do I expect from Buc’s offense; score 42-45 points so we can win! Go Bucs!

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BucWild02
1 year ago
Reply to  Horse

Flawed thinking Horse. Short, quick passes beat the blitz every time. Have you ever noticed how lineman and blitzers are given a free run on a screen pass? Have you heard of hot routes? The way to beat the short dink and dunk game is by NOT BLITZING. Blitzes only work to stop the intermediate and long passing plays, not the short or quick ones.

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surferdudes
1 year ago

Dude, when you have the worst defense in the league you should keep them off the field as much as possible. Ever hear the expression, put your best foot forward? When you continually give up a score deferring the kick off putting your offense in a hole to start a game, maybe you should rethink your strategy.

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BucWild02
1 year ago
Reply to  surferdudes

Evans all day long. Donald was small for a DT and it wasn’t a sure thing. Mike Evans? He was a sure thing.

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vtrantb
1 year ago

Evans is great. However, I like to start a poll with the following question?

1) Bucs drafting Evans at #7
2) Rams drafting Aaron Donald at #13

Which one would you prefer?

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vtrantb
1 year ago
Reply to  vtrantb

What is your opinion PR?

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BUC-ASS-BOB
1 year ago
Reply to  vtrantb

Odell Beckham at 12th pick same ?

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vtrantb
1 year ago
Reply to  BUC-ASS-BOB

Yes. My opinion you start building from the inside then out not withstanding franchise QB. That means you draft DL, OL. You can WRs later in the draft like Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin in the third round. You typically don’t find the Aaron Donalds of the world outside the first round.

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BucWild02
1 year ago
Reply to  vtrantb

So you support Vita Vea over Derwin James? That’s building inside out.
Also, you would pass on Julio Jones (#6 overall) to take Nick Fairly(next DT available was taken #13 overall)?

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vtrantb
1 year ago
Reply to  BucWild02

Time will tell. There are exceptions to every rule. Who would you pick over Aaron Donald or Warren Sapp, not withstanding a franchise QB?

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vtrantb
1 year ago
Reply to  BucWild02

How about Khalil Mack? That is building inside out. Definitely pick him over Derwin James.

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vtrantb
1 year ago
Reply to  vtrantb

Name me a great WR: Jones, AB, Evans, even Jerry Rice. I will still pick Sapp, Donald, Mack every day of the week.

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drdneast
1 year ago

Surferdudes, I agree with somewhat but only because we really don’t have a defense. We have 7 guys running into each other in the back end. Dude is right and analytics support his statement. Unfortunately, analytics doesn’t factor in our defense. I hope they bring Noah Spence out of mothballs this week and use him in some imainative ways. I know, I know, but I can hope. Blitz him as a standup LB from the end, blitz him up the middle. Run some stunts and crosses try a safety or CB blitz for gods sake but please just do something… Read more »

plopes808
1 year ago

It was only 2 seasons ago that our defense played horribly, then came back after the bye and had turned the corner. We can all only hope this is the case this year. If not…I foresee screaming and celebrating on offense, then trying not to throw the controller at my screen on defense.

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plopes808
1 year ago
Reply to  plopes808

If you look at both teams defensively, we both have bad secondarys. The key will be the run game as Atlanta is also bad against the run, while we have been pretty stout over the first 4 games. We also look to be getting Beau Allen back in addition to getting Vita back last week, which should make for an even better run defense. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the key for us will be getting our own run game going and keeping their offense off the field. Unfortunately, I’ll be playing Jameis, DJax, and Sanu in… Read more »