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Lovie Smith says Bucs need to spread ball around more

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) misses catching the ball for a touchdown in the end zone in the third quarter of the game between the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, September 27, 2015.

EVE EDELHEIT I Times

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) misses catching the ball for a touchdown in the end zone in the third quarter of the game between the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, September 27, 2015.

TAMPA — Is there such a thing as too much Mike Evans?

The Bucs receiver was targeted on 17 passes in Sunday's loss to the Texans — six more than in any game last season — and had seven catches for 101 yards, but coach Lovie Smith admitted the Bucs can share the wealth more in the passing game.

"That is a lot to focus on one guy, yes," Smith said Monday. "We need to distribute. … Sometimes it just happens like that when you feel like you have a favorable matchup."

Since the 2011 season, there have been 63 games where an NFL receiver had 17-plus targets, and only one produced fewer catches than Evans' seven Sunday. QB Jameis Winston went 0-for-7 on third-down passes to Evans, part of a 1-for-12 day converting third downs.

Not the real McCoy: DT Gerald McCoy acknowledged Sunday that he was limited by a lingering shoulder injury, saying "I wasn't able to be me." McCoy had two tackles and had a sack-fumble negated by a defensive holding penalty. Smith said he held up well under the circumstances.

"He was definitely limited," Smith said. "Gerald played hard right up until the end, but no doubt he was playing with pain. He wasn't playing with an injury though. I just know that another week should put him in even a better place."

Hometown high: RB Charles Sims got his first career touchdown in his hometown of Houston, waiting a second while his blockers cleared a path for a 32-yard score on a screen pass.

"O-line did a great job and the receivers outside did a great job as well," said Sims, who flipped into the end zone for the Bucs' only touchdown.

"It feels good to make a block to spring a guy for a touchdown," C Joe Hawley said. "That's really how the O-line gets our glory is a block like that."

Pick it up: The Bucs missed a huge opportunity when DE Josh Martin couldn't pick up a loose ball inside the 10-yard line after a fumble on a punt return. Smith reiterated that he prefers players to try to scoop and score, not just fall on a loose ball. "Our No. 1 goal every play is to try to score, and the only way you can score is to try to pick the ball up," Smith said.

Familiar foe: This week's opponent got a boost Monday when the Panthers traded for Bears DE Jared Allen, the NFL's active career sack leader.

Carolina had lost DE Charles Johnson to a hamstring injury, and Allen's talents are well-known to Smith, as well as defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who he played for in Minnesota. Allen faced Smith's Bears teams 10 times from 2008-12, and he totaled 13 sacks in those games.

This and that: With 10 penalties for 84 yards Sunday, the Bucs are tied for the NFL lead with 11 penalties per game, and have the third-most penalty yards, 90.3 a game. … First-year P Jacob Schum outdueled one of the NFL's best punters in Shane Lechler, edging him on average at 44.6 yards and beating him by more than 9 yards with a net average of 42.1. Schum had three punts downed inside the 20 without any touchbacks.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Lovie Smith says Bucs need to spread ball around more 09/28/15 [Last modified: Monday, September 28, 2015 9:19pm]
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