TAMPA — It was the most anticipated matchup of the game, and the Bucs' Mike Evans didn't disappoint, catching two touchdown passes in the first quarter, the second as he beat Seahawks Pro Bowl CB Richard Sherman one-on-one.
"Mike Evans is elite. He's a superstar," said the Bucs' Jameis Winston, who has 10 touchdown passes this season to Evans, who is tied for the most TD catches in the league. "He worked very hard in the offseason, and it's paying off. You can see how great he really is."
Evans caught a 3-yard touchdown pass on third down on the opening drive, then beat Sherman for a 23-yard score on the following drive, giving the Bucs a 14-0 lead that would hold up in a 14-5 victory. He finished with 104 yards on eight catches, putting him over 1,000 yards for the third straight season.
"I'm a big fan of Richard Sherman," Evans said. "It's just a big win overall. Our defense has played amazing in the last few weeks."
Evans is just the fourth player to top 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons, joining the Bengals' A.J. Green and former greats Randy Moss and John Jefferson. He's the second Buc to reach 1,000 in 11 games (Joey Galloway, 2005).
ZERO SACKS: Seattle's defense came in tied for the league lead with 31 sacks, but the Bucs protected Winston well enough that the Seahawks didn't get a sack for just the second time all season.
"Those guys talk, man," T Demar Dotson said. "That's 11 guys up front that run their mouth. I don't think they're as tough as they talk. At the end of the day, we guys up front won the battle. Coach (George) Warhop said it all week: 'Let's go out and punch these guys in the mouth and see what they're really made of.' "
Dotson took that a bit too literally on one fourth-quarter play, as his penalty for illegal hands to the face negated a touchdown pass from Winston to Cameron Brate. Winston was intercepted in the end zone on the next play.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Bucs DT Gerald McCoy finished the game but had a walking boot on his right foot afterward. McCoy called the injury "nothing." He had 11/2 sacks and two quarterback hits.
CAME UP EMPTY: The Bucs missed out on a field-goal chance at the end of the first half when Brate was knocked out of bounds but the clock didn't stop and time ran out. "If your forward progress is stopped in the field of play and he is driven backwards out of bounds, the clock will continue to run," referee Bill Vinovich explained.
THIS AND THAT: Former FSU walk-on Javien Elliott, promoted from the practice squad, made his NFL debut on special teams. … Seattle's Russell Wilson had been intercepted twice in 335 passes all season entering the game, but he was intercepted twice by the Bucs. He has two multi-INT games in two career games against the Bucs, with three total in 73 career games against every other team. Wilson's passer rating of 38.8 Sunday is 0.1 points better than his career-worst, set as a rookie in 2012 against the 49ers … Winston was 21-for-28 passing, setting a career high for completion percentage at 75 percent. … Bucs RB Doug Martin set a season high with 87 rushing yards on 23 carries, continuing to improve in his third game back from a hamstring injury.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690.