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Bucs’ Mike Evans likely to miss extended time

Tampa Bay’s Pro Bowl wide receiver’s season could be over.
Mike Evans (13) walks back to the sideline after sustaining a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Tampa Bay's 38-35 victory over Indianapolis Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
Mike Evans (13) walks back to the sideline after sustaining a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Tampa Bay's 38-35 victory over Indianapolis Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Dec. 8, 2019
Updated Dec. 9, 2019

TAMPA — One of Mike Evans’ longest touchdown receptions of 2019 might be his last.

Bucs coach Bruce Arians gave Evans a grim prognosis following Tampa Bay’s 38-35 win over Indianapolis Sunday, a game Evans left with a right hamstring injury sustained on his 61-yard touchdown reception.

“It’s not good,” Arians said. “... I’d be shocked if Mike made it back before the last week.”

Arians expects Evans to miss at least the next two weeks, the Bucs’ road contest in Detroit next Sunday and a Dec. 21 home game against Houston. The Bucs season ends Dec. 29 at home against Atlanta.

This could mean a premature end to Evans’ sixth-straight 1,000-yard receiving season to open his NFL career. He and Hall of Famer Randy Moss are the only receivers to accomplish that feat.

The touchdown catch was Evans’ only reception Sunday. He has 67 receptions for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns on the season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a catch to score a touchdown over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Pierre Desir (35) during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, December 8, 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a catch to score a touchdown over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Pierre Desir (35) during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, December 8, 2019. [ Times (2019) ]

On the touchdown Sunday, he beat Colts cornerback Pierre Desir with a stop-and-go route. Jameis Winston hit Evans in stride down the right sideline. Around the 15-yard line, Desir dove for Evans’ feet. Evans skipped up to avoid the tackle but landed lame, limping for the final yards into the end zone.

Evans went to the ground holding the back of his right leg. After receiving attention from team trainers, he limped off the field under his own power.

Evans wasn’t available after the game.

Since the start of 2016, Evans has played in 60 of the team’s 61 games. He’s missed just three games during his six-year NFL career. Evans dealt with a left quad injury that kept him out of the third preseason game, but he’s played all 13 games this season.

Run defense stout again

The Bucs held former USF standout Marlon Mack, who returned to the Colts lineup following a two-game absence due to a hand injury, to a season-low 38 yards on 13 carries. The running back had just 12 yards on nine carries in the second half for a meager average of 1.3 yards a carry.

The Bucs held the Colts to 66 yards rushing on the day and retook the NFL lead in fewest rushing yards allowed with an average 75.5 a game.

“They’re a great run-stopping ream for a reason,” Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett said. “They had a great game plan for our run game.”

Miscellany

Left tackle Donovan Smith left the game in the second half with an apparent knee injury but returned. Smith’s replacement, Josh Wells, gave up a sack. … Tight end O.J. Howard set a season high with 73 yards on four receptions. … Inside linebacker Lavonte David started his 118th Bucs game, passing Lee Roy Selmon (117) for the ninth-most starts in franchise history. … Rookie kicker Matt Gay hit his only field-goal attempt and made all five extra points, giving him 106 points on the season, tying Martin Gramatica for most by a rookie kicker.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard

clarification: An earlier version of this story identified Mike Evans as an an All-Pro wide receiver. Evans is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a first-team All-Pro selection by Pro Football Focus in 2016.