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Bucs' Mike Evans evolving into a playmaker

Mike Evans hauls in a second-quarter touchdown pass in front of Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]
Mike Evans hauls in a second-quarter touchdown pass in front of Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]
Published Nov. 9, 2014

With every week, Bucs receiver Mike Evans looks more and more like the playmaker Tampa Bay hoped to find with the No. 7 overall pick, on Sunday becoming the first Bucs rookie to top 100 receiving yards in back-to-back games.

Evans matched a season high for catches (seven), reset his high with 125 yards and came down with another big touchdown, catching a 22-yarder from Josh McCown to tie the game in the second quarter. But again, his big numbers came in a losing effort, making it hard to appreciate the progress he's made in the last three games.

"It just stings because we lost," the former Texas A&M star said Sunday. "We're 1-8, it hurts. That's all I can feel right now."

Evans came up with two more big plays as the Bucs tried to rally in the closing minutes. He caught a 34-yard pass from McCown, who was initially flagged for beyond the line of scrimmage, but was ruled a catch after review. Then he made a toe-tap catch on the sidelines, a 23-yard gain to the 4-yard line, but he was initially ruled out of bounds. Again, the call was challenged and ruled a catch.

"It was just toe-tap work in practice," Evans said. "(McCown) threw it up, I made the catch and the ref ruled me out for some reason. They checked it and overturned the call."

In Evans' first five games, he averaged 55 yards with two total touchdowns. In his last three, he's averaging 109 yards per game with three touchdowns. That hasn't been enough to change the result on the scoreboard. After going 20-6 in his two seasons playing at Texas A&M, he's already lost more games in barely more than two months in the NFL.

"We're so close," Evans said. "Almost every game, we're so close. Unfortunately, we're always on bottom. I don't know what it is anymore. We just have to keep making plays and stop beating ourselves."

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