Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Bucs rout Washington, 27-7

Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates his touchdown catch during the second half Sunday in Landover, Md. [AP photo]
Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates his touchdown catch during the second half Sunday in Landover, Md. [AP photo]
Published Nov. 17, 2014

TAMPA — Mike Evans is only a rookie, so there is a steep learning curve. He's going to make mistakes. You can't expect him to be a finished product at age 21.

"I don't know what to do when I get in (the end zone)," Evans said dejectedly.

So Evans is patterning his end zone celebration after some of the league's greats. After scoring his second touchdown in Sunday's 27-7 win over Washington, the rookie from Texas A&M split his arms apart, just the way he ripped open the Redskins defense with seven catches for 209 yards and two scores.

Having watched an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary Saturday night on Vikings great Randy Moss, Evans wanted to copy the touchdown trademark of one of his favorite receivers. It was somewhat appropriate, since Evans became the first rookie since Moss in 1998 to have three consecutive games with at least 100 yards receiving and one touchdown.

In fact, the last rookie to have 200 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns in a game was Anquan Boldin for the Arizona Cardinals in 2003.

"I did the Randy Moss," Evans said of his celebration style. "I did that in college. I did that a couple times here. The swagger (Moss) plays with, he has fun with the game and I try to do that and model that. Talk a little smack whenever I score. Have fun."

Oh sure, there were other stars in the Bucs' dismantling of the Redskins that broke a five-game losing streak and improved them to 2-8.

The defense forced three turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Johnthan Banks. The defensive line sacked Robert Griffin III six times — two by Jacquies Smith, who also forced a fumble, and 11/2 by Gerald McCoy.

But the player that towered like a D.C. monument over the others at FedEx Field was Evans.

"I played with A.J. (Green), played with Chad (Ochocinco), played with Terrell (Owens)," left tackle Anthony Collins said. "Mike will be the next one. He's really good, and he's learning from a veteran in Vincent Jackson. It's going to be real beautiful."

Evans is learning on the fly (as in pattern). On his first touchdown Sunday, while going in motion in the third quarter, Evans noticed the Redskins were playing a Cover 2 trap, meaning the cornerback was likely to drop like it's a different coverage then stop and rely on deep help from the safety.

"The first touchdown, we were laughing," quarterback Josh McCown said. "He was going in motion and he was asking me about doing something and so I'm telling him while he's in motion, 'Yeah, yeah, do that, do that, do that.'

"We had a route called, and it was something he was going to add to it. We talked about it possibly on the sideline. So it was truly a last-second adjustment there, and he made a great play."

Evans blew past cornerback Bashaud Breeland and got to safety Ryan Clark too quickly for him to help. The result was a 36-yard touchdown that gave the Bucs some cushion at 20-7.

"I was motioning over, and I said, 'Josh, just throw it up,' " Evans said. "He said, 'Yeah, yeah.' We got the coverage we wanted and he threw a good ball."

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On the second touchdown, the Redskins were bringing a blitz and tried to cheat on their coverage, leaving linebacker Perry Riley Jr. one-on-one with Evans. McCown recognized the coverage and threw a perfect pass for a 56-yard touchdown.

McCown credited the pass protection for making the play work.

"That one was 100 percent on the offensive line because the way that reads out, it's a little different typically," McCown said. "If you can have an extra click back there, you can do that. If you don't have the extra click, you don't have time to see it. That's hats off to the offensive line. Mike ran a good route and he stretched it out."

McCown was a teammate of Boldin's with the Cardinals when he had his 200-yard receiving effort on opening day of 2003.

"I was there that day Anquan did that," McCown said. "I'm sitting there thinking, 'Geez, this guy, we've got something special.' Obviously, Mike being the seventh pick, you expect it more I guess. But certainly to take over and do the things he did today, it's special."