Mike Evans has had a stellar season, and folks have noticed. A pair of awards came his way this week. First, he won Clutch Player of the Week for his performance against the Carolina Panthers, catching the team’s game-winning touchdown with 3:13 remaining — which was enough for the Bucs to win by one point.
That’s nice, as is Pro Football Focus decision to name him one of their first-team All-Pros alongside Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones. That list is, notably, not the actual All-Pro list that carries weight (that one’s constructed by the Associated Press and will be out in a few days), but it’s still cool.
As Jameis Winston’s go-to weapon, Buccaneers WR Mike Evans ended the season with seven more targets than any other receiver and really emerged as an elite force, making some spectacular catches and plays throughout the season. Other receivers may have put up better numbers, but none could match the highlight-reel plays Evans managed over the year.
That’s all true, but one statistic always stands out to me about Evans this year: he leads the league in first downs. He had 81, well ahead of number two T.Y. Hilton, who had 66.
I’m not sure how meaningful that statistic really is, but it sounds good, right? I mean, the point of a passing game is to get first downs, after all, and Evans could reliably get them almost every time he caught the ball. Only 15 of his catches did not produce a first down. That’s impressive.
So hey, Mike Evans is good and awesome. Cool beans.