It's been almost a week but the sting of how things went on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still lingers.
The Bucs didn't measure up against the Detroit Lions, failing to prove they deserve to stand alongside the best the NFC has to offer. There's still plenty of season left, and more than enough time to correct things, but the loss was less than ideal.
Even less outstanding was the play of Mike Evans. For the second time this year the Bucs offense failed to get going following mistakes that Evans was on the other side of. One of the mistakes wasn't his fault, as Baker Mayfield threw a tip-drill interception on the Bucs second drive of the game, but Evans was the intended target, and had the ball gotten to him he would have waltzed in for a touchdown.
Later in the game Evans committed a brutal pass interference penalty that backed the Bucs off the Lions 8-yard line and essentially killed a touchdown drive. Two scores were snatched away from Tampa Bay on plays involved Evans, which was a theme throughout the loss to the Eagles as well.
Baker Mayfield sticks up for Mike Evans amid criticism
Evans is in the midst of a contract dispute with the Bucs, which is coloring everything he does this season.
When he started the season well there were calls to pay him, but after games like he had on Sunday those voices are shouting something else. It's a little foolish to be judging Evans too harshly on a game-by-game basis, and Baker Mayfield is among those sticking up for the wide reciever.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Baker defended Evans and stopped short of pulling an Aaron Rodgers-style R-E-L-A-X when talking about the recent struggles.
“First thing I’ll say – I’m not worried about Mike,” Mayfield said. “When it comes to certain drops, you can go the same way with my stuff, certain missed throws. I’m not worried about it. We’ll get it fixed. The physical stuff – we’ll get that corrected."
Evans has been off his mark for two weeks, as he left the Bucs win over New Orleans early with a hamstring injury. He wasn't his usual self in Week 6 but still managed to make some pretty incredible plays.
“It’s never about hitting the panic button. It’s still instilling confidence," Mayfield said. "The ball is always going to come his way. I’m still going to find ways to get him the ball."
Evans and the Bucs will have a chance to get right with a win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.