A lot of things went wrong for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, almost too many to count. The game got off to a slow start, but after halftime the Eagles kicked it into a gear the Bucs couldn't reach and ran away with things.
Unlike weeks before the Bucs were unable to find a rhythm on offense, partially because it took until the fourth quarter for Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans to get on the same page. Over the first two weeks of the season, the magic elixir to sluggish starts has been Baker finding Evans for some ort of big gain to jolt the offense to life.
That didn't happen on Monday, and the result was a 25-11 loss to a team that very well could be back in the Super Bowl this year. The Bucs have a lot of work to do before they're in that conversation, as Monday's loss highlighted some pretty key areas that need improvement.
For as good as Evans has played -- and ended up playing in garbage time -- he let the Bucs down when they relied on him early in the game. Evans dropped three key passes in the first half, including a touchdown that would have given the Bucs an early and unexpected lead.
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman credited Eagles defensive back Sydney Brown with breaking up the pass but replays showed that Evans pretty much dropped the pass all on his own. After the game Evans addressed the drop and let everyone know who should be blamed.
Mike Evans explains dropped touchdown pass: "I have to catch that"
Rather than shy away from talking about the drop, Evans not only went into detail about what happened but placed the blame on himself.
"[Brown] got a hand on it, but I've got to catch that," Evans said. "It got caught in the lights a little bit, I saw it last second. He recovered and hit my arm but it's a play that I'm pretty much open. I have to catch that."
What an All-Pro leadership move by Evans to get that candid about one of the biggest miscues of the game. Tampa Bay ended up losing by 14 points, but the momentum that early touchdown would have given the team is a massive What-If that fans pondered long after the game was over.
It would have been easy for Evans to shrug the play off or drag Baker Mayfield into it, but he took all of the blame himself. One of the biggest storylines of the season is what will happen with Evans' contract, and it's moves like this that highlight how valuable he is outside of a box score.
Evans made a highlight reel catch and scored a touchdown later in the game, but taking the blame for letting his team down is the type of leadership that teams would absolutely pay to have in their locker room.