TAMPA — Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on Sunday became the first receiving duo in Bucs history to each record 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a single game.
Usually, those kinds of numbers serve as a formula for victory, but the Bucs lost 34-32 to Atlanta. Gaudy numbers haven't been enough for the Bucs offense.
"Losing is always frustrating," Evans said. "We've had an explosive offense. (We were) not as good as we should have been in the red zone, and I think that was key. The turnovers and penalties throughout the year, it kills you, so if we tighten up on those things, it will probably lead to more winning."
Evans has the best season — in terms of yardage — as any receiver in Bucs history. He finished the year with the first 1,500-yard receiving season in club history after breaking Mark Carrier's single-season record of 1,422 yards with his first catch of the day. After finishing with 106 yards on six catches, Evans finished the season with 1,524 receiving yards.
Still, Evans said he believed his third pro season in 2016, when he caught 12 touchdown passes and had 96 catches, was the best of his five-year career.
"My third year, I was getting double-teamed like crazy and I was still open and making plays, so I think (that) was my best year by far, but this was a solid year for me."
This year also marked a step forward for Godwin, who rebounded from a rough three-week stretch in which he caught just four balls with a season-high 114 receiving yards on six catches on Sunday. That included a nifty 30-yard touchdown catch down the sideline and another in which he fought to get into the end zone, extending his body over the goal line with a second effort.
"I think that I took a step up," said Godwin, who finished with 842 yards, second-most on the team, on 59 catches in his second pro season. "I think people are starting to take notice more, but I really just do it to help my team as much as possible. The biggest thing that I worry about is just wins. When we don't get those, it's pretty frustrating. I feel like if I can play good, it helps our team."
Regardless of the changes that might take place following this year — Tampa Bay could lose slot receiver Adam Humphries, who is a free agent in the offseason — the Bucs have the makings of one of the top wide receiving duos in the league.
"When you've got guys like Mike Evans, I think Mike Evans, if he's not the best, is one of the best wide receivers in this football league," offensive tackle Demar Dotson said.
"And you've got a young guy like Chris Godwin coming in. He's going to be a tremendous football player in this league hanging around with Mike Evans and watching that guy work. Those two guys are going to be a good duo in this league for a long time."
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.