For the second time in seven weeks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers found a way to get a win. It wasn’t pretty, and it was more of a grind than it should have been, but turning the season around starts one game at a time.
The win over Carolina means that Tampa Bay is right back in the thick of the NFC South race, as the Bucs moved into second place and are just a game behind Atlanta for the division lead. That’s crucial considering the Bucs next matchup is against the Falcons, which means after losing six of the last seven games coming into Sunday, Tampa Bay can be back in first place after Week 14.
Winning wasn’t the only thing to get excited about on Sunday. Mike Evans finished the game with 162 yards, which pushed him over 1,000 yards for the tenth time in his career. Not only that, but it’s the tenth straight season in which Evans has gone over that mark, which is just two seasons shy of setting a new NFL record.
Jerry Rice had 14 total seasons of 1,000 yards or more, going over that mark in the first twelve seasons of his career. Evans just needs to put together two more seasons of this sort of production to pass Rice, and based on what we’re seeing it might not be that hard for him to do.
Mike Evans had an iconic reaction to going over 1,000 yards…again
After the game, and following a hug from Baker Mayfield who congratulated him on his performance, Evans re-watched the play in which he went over 1,000 yards for the 10th straight season. His reaction is everything we’ve come to expect out of him, and exactly what Bucs fans want to hear.
This hits extra hard knowing the context in which Evans is putting together the season he’s having.
Evans is in the final year of his contract with the Bucs, and is set to hit free agency in March. He wanted to get a new deal done with the team this past offseason but nothing ended up happening, despite an ultimatum he gave the front office before Week 1.
His contract situation is something the front office said it would address in the offseason, but the liklihood of Evans leaving feels like it’s increasing. The New York Jets have already reportedly kicked around the idea of trying to trade for him, which makes them an obvious fit in free agency. Evans hitting his 1,000 yard mark with another Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers makes sense, as does joining a team much closer to a Super Bowl than the Bucs are.
It’s also clear that Evans feels like he has some of his best years head of him still, which bodes well for his sales pitch to potential suitors.
All of this is looming down the road, but we haven’t yet crossed the bridge. Until we do, fans might as well appreciate and relish in his historic run as long as he’s in a Buccaneers uniform.