The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.
With Tom Brady at the helm and a defense that’s beginning to look like the unit that held the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs offenses in check en route to a Super Bowl win last season, the Bucs are primed for another trip to the championship game.
Injuries and unforeseen circumstances like Antonio Brown’s legendary exit, have ravaged Tampa Bay this season, but nothing’s changed.
The key to the Buccaneers offense will be the often overlooked and underrated wide receiver Mike Evans.
The 6-foot-5 former Texas A&M Aggies star has an amazing catch radius. But he’s so much more than that. Without the recently released Brown and injured Chris Godwin, Byron Leftwich will center his passing game around the talented Evans for the remainder of their playoff run.
That run that will see the Bucs host the winner of the tonight’s Arizona Cardinals vs. LA Rams game.
Got the job done. pic.twitter.com/YgZTf7vmp8
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 16, 2022
In Sunday’s 31-15 wild card win over the Eagles, Evans had nine receptions and registered them in a variety of ways for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Mike Evans' nine catches today is a Bucs playoff record.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) January 16, 2022
His ability to win one-on-one matchups opened the middle of the field for tight end Rob Gronkowski to have a big day with five receptions and a touchdown. Evans dictates how defenses play the Buccaneers in the secondary.
Mike Evans went OFF 🚀 pic.twitter.com/7S1j10TVhI
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 16, 2022
Evans Is First Receiver In NFL History To Start Career With Eight Consecutive 1,000 Yard Seasons:
Evans was drafted No.7 overall in the 2014 NFL draft. Evans has had over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his eight seasons.
Mike Evans: 1000+ receiving yards in all 8 career season.
The longest such streak to start a career in NFL history.
Only HOFers Jerry Rice (11) & Tim Brown (9) had longer such streaks at any point in their career.#mikeevans #Buccaneers #tampabay pic.twitter.com/CqEZwUfcRj
— East Coast Gridiron Podcast (@ecGridiron) January 10, 2022
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has this to say in his postgame presser about Evans:
“It meant the world for him to get that record and then to have an easy touchdown.”
The stats keep piling up for Evans, who has touched pay dirt 75 times on 606 career receptions while averaging 1,163 yards receiving per season.
He did it while catching passes from signal callers not known for their passing prowess.
Guys like Josh McCown, Mike Glennon and Ryan Fitzpatrick. You can just call Evans “Mr. Consistency.”
Evans Runs The Entire Route Tree, Can Beat You As A Possession Receiver Or Deep Threat
With a career average of 15.3 yards per catch and an average of 24 yards per touchdown catch, Evans has proved he can beat you underneath and over the top.
Having the ageless Brady, still able to make every throw at 44, has allowed Evans to display his array of catching ability. From tough contested grabs in traffic, to making vertical and leaping grabs, Evans does it all.
During these playoffs he’s already displayed the excellent footwork and elite route running that’s made him a top-five pass-catching weapon in the league.
In December, on the “Richard Sherman Podcast,” Sherman mentioned how underrated he believes Evans is.
“I think it is far and away, referring to Evans being both underrated and underappreciated from those outside the league. I think if you’re talking about any other receiver going for eight straight 1,000-yard seasons, it would be headlines all over everywhere.”
“I think it is just the market he has been in, he’s been a great player since he has come in this league. He’s one of the all-time greats. He will get a gold jacket at the end of his career.”
As these playoffs proceeds and the Bucs keeps winning, Evans will be a major reason for that success. He just might get his due this time out.
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