TAMPA — Nearly three full seasons into a professional relationship that mostly has prospered, Tom Brady and Mike Evans seem to have more crossed signals than connections these days.
And their coach has no explanation for it.
“It’s a good question,” Todd Bowles said Monday, a day after Evans managed only two catches (for 31 yards) despite being targeted nine times by Brady in Sunday’s 23-17 overtime loss in Cleveland.
“Some of them were defensive calls, some of them we just missed it here and there. We’ve got to get that fixed, we’ve got to get them back on the same page.”
Though still the most fearsome outside weapon at Brady’s disposal, Evans has only 18 catches on 37 targets the last four games for a catch percentage (48.6) well shy of his career average (57.5).
On Sunday, he had a 28-yard catch to become the first player in a Bucs uniform to reach 10,000 career receiving yards. He also later drew a defensive pass-interference whistle on cornerback Martin Emerson, and snagged a deep Brady throw near the goal line with Emerson draped on him, though officials ruled him out of bounds and the call wasn’t challenged.
But the last five passes targeted to Evans were incomplete. Afterward, Brady — who missed 11 days of training camp for personal reasons — didn’t mention his misfires to Evans specifically, but acknowledged the offensive miscommunication.
“There were too many plays that we were not on the same page and we all were not seeing it the same way,” he said. “We just have to work on it, talk through it and see if we can improve it.”
Evans, seeking his ninth consecutive 1,000-yard season, has 51 receptions for 702 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. At 70.2 yards a game, he’s on pace to reach the millennial mark yet again.
But he has totaled only 125 receiving yards (45 yards per contest) in his last three games.
“Not saying it was anybody’s fault, but it did show up (Sunday) and it showed up a few games before that, and we’ve got to get that taken care of,” Bowles said. “That’s crucial for our success.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls
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