Even as the Bucs stymied themselves with picks, penalties and porous third-down defense Sunday afternoon, Mike Evans reached a milestone some presumed was unattainable.
With his 40-yard scoring reception in the fourth quarter, the eighth-year receiver tied Mike Alstott’s franchise record for total touchdowns (71). Evans now has 70 TD catches; the other score came in 2018, when Jameis Winston coughed up the ball in the Giants end zone and Evans snagged it from a defender for six unlikely points.
While Evans barely commented on the feat in the game’s immediate wake (“I was excited because it got us back in the game,” he said), we couldn’t let such an achievement go unnoticed.
We sifted through the 71 TDs and ranked the five most memorable of his career (listed in chronological order). Our criteria included clutch factor, difficulty of the play and historical significance. Because this is a regular season record, Evans’ two postseason TDs weren’t considered.
Making his mark
Nov. 16, 2014
Though Evans had posted 100-yard receiving efforts in each of his previous two games, this one still ranks as his breakthrough game as a pro. Evans finished with seven receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first rookie to collect 200 yards and a pair of TDs in a game since Anquan Boldin 11 years earlier. The highlight: a 56-yard TD catch from Josh McCown, who beat a blitz to find his 6-foot-5 target in single coverage against a linebacker.
Shining on a national stage
Nov. 3, 2016
Before a Thursday night NBC audience, Evans delivered a clinic in a 43-28 defeat. Targeted 17 times, he finished with 11 catches for 150 yards and two TDs, the latter of which remains a staple in his highlight reel. On second and long from the Falcons 24, Winston found Evans near the left edge of the end zone, where he snagged the ball over cornerback Robert Alford, then maintained possession by securing it atop his helmet.
A bomb to beat Lattimore
Sept. 9, 2018
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While Evans’ annual duels with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore occasionally have gone over the edge, this play went right over the top. In one of the Bucs’ most exhilarating season openers, Evans beat Lattimore to haul in a 50-yard bomb from Ryan Fitzpatrick (who replaced the suspended Winston) to highlight a 48-40 road win against the Saints.
Earning every yard
Nov. 23, 2020
While this catch lacked dramatic or historical appeal, it typified the desire, resilience and freaky athleticism that has endeared Evans to his fan base. On third and 1 from the Rams 9 in last year’s Monday night clash, Evans caught a short Brady throw near the line of scrimmage, where he was met by cornerback Troy Hill. Evans spun away from Hill, who still held on to the receiver’s right leg. From there, Evans dragged Hill into the end zone for a 9-yard TD in the Bucs’ 27-24 loss.
The greatest giveaway
Oct. 24, 2021
Evans, who in recent years has given many of his TD balls to fans, may never live down this act of benevolence against the Bears. Early in the Bucs’ 38-3 romp last month, he snagged a 9-yard scoring pass from Tom Brady near the goal line, then handed it to a fan bedecked in an old-school No. 13 jersey who was standing in the north end zone’s front row. Unbeknownst to Evans, it was Brady’s 600th career TD pass. You know the rest.
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls
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