The team will remain home this weekend and host their division rival Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Panthers won the first matchup of the season 42-28 back on November 4th.
Outside of the horrendous defensive performance on defense that day for Tampa Bay, Mike Evans also had his worst game of the season matching up against James Bradberry. Evans finished that game with one reception for just 16 yards.
It was certainly an uncharacteristic day for Evans and he spoke to the media today about Bradberry and what he needs to do different this Sunday.
“Like I said, they game-planned really well. Even though they’re a one-high team, it felt like Eric Reid was just coming to me no matter what. And then [James] Bradberry was underneath just pressing that,” Evans said. “So I’ve got to be better, more physical, faster and stronger, and I think I will be this time around.”
While Evans had a down game, he has been nothing short of fantastic this season for the Buccaneers. He is currently fifth in the league in receiving yards with 1,073 and up to this point is having his best statistical season in terms of yards.
This past weekend he became only the third player in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards in his first five seasons, joining A.J. Green and Randy Moss. In terms of yards, this has been his best start to any season. Evans commented on the success he has had through the teams first 11 games.
”Statistically, yeah. Maybe not the touchdowns; I had double digits twice, I think. Those years I was getting easier ones on the goal line and in the red zone. This year I’ve got to score from further out because I get doubled a lot in the red zone. But I think this is my best year in terms of route-running and my ability to take the top off a defense.”
Last week was the teams first complete game all season on both sides of the ball and it is something that has been stressed throughout the year, according to Evans.
”Dirk always preaches on playing complementary football, and when the defense plays well it gives us confidence like, ‘Alright, we’ve got to hold up our end of the bargain.’ I think we did that last week and we’re looking forward to doing that again this week,” Evans said.
Evans will look to bounce back against Bradburry and the Panthers this weekend and further push himself towards a pro bowl vote.