This is part one of a two-part series that will showcase Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans’ best catches from the 2018 season. Be sure to check back in on Thursday for the final installment.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Mike Evans is good.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fifth-year receiver has already cemented himself atop of the franchise and NFL record books, so it’s no surprise that he consistently churns out highlight reel-type catches almost every week.
Therefore, I decided to track down the 10 best catches from 2018 that fit the aforementioned highlight reel category.
Trust me, it was not easy, but here are Nos. 10-6.
10. Week 2 - vs Philadelphia Eagles - 3rd and 3 TB36 - 10yd reception
I know what you’re thinking: Evan, how can a 10yd reception make this list?
Well, context matters, folks. Plus, this is a hell of an effort by Evans.
The Bucs led the defending Super Bowl champions 27-21 with just 2:23 left to play. If Tampa Bay could just get the first down, the game would be put on ice. The Eagles had no timeouts left.
Jalen Mills fails to press Evans and has to hold on for dear life to keep him from breaking free. It was enough contact to draw a defensive holding penalty, so the Bucs would’ve been in good shape anyway, but Evans was still able to come down with the ball, allowing the Bucs to decline the penalty.
And here is the Fox broadcast angle that gives a really good look at the play:
Evans’ game-sealing catch pushed the Bucs to 2-0 on the season and is certainly worthy of a top 10 spot.
9. Week 4 - at Chicago Bears - 2nd and 7 TB28 - 12yd reception
This game was an absolute nightmare for both the offense and defense, so it’s easy to just completely burn the film from this one and move on.
But, for the purpose of this article, there is one play from Evans that stands out. It demonstrates his strong hands and physical demeanor, meaning his ability to take a hit and still make a catch.
On this play, Evans runs an out to the left sideline and is decked by two Bears defenders before coming down with the ball.
I’m only showing the All-22 angle in hopes that those who have never seen tape from the Windy City can get a glimpse of how torturous it is to watch this shitty angle and try to analyze a football game:
Obviously, it’s tough to tell what the hell is going on there, so I’ve included the broadcast angle:
8. Week 10 - vs Washington Redskins - 2nd and 7 TB24 - 23yd reception
There were many, many frustrating moments from the offensive perspective in this game, but Evans was one of the more consistent performers on this day.
On this play, Evans appears to run a post, but is well-guarded by Fabian Moreau. Ryan Fitzpatrick puts the ball exactly where it needs to be, but it still takes a tremendous adjustment by Evans to secure the catch.
Evans is already out of his break and running downfield when the ball is thrown, so he has to stop on a dime and turn his body to the opposite side in order to make the catch.
That is an insane amount of body control that not many receivers his size possess. It’s truly a trait that sets him apart from the rest.
7. Week 13 - at New York Giants - 2 & 10 NYG41 - 41yd TD reception
The Bucs were attempting to mount a comeback, down 38-28 with just a little over 2:30 to play in the game. It was obvious they needed a big play if they wanted any chance to win.
What better time to cue up a deep pass to your best player on offense?
Evans is at the top of the screen and just blows by the defender for a nice over-the-shoulder grab in the end zone.
The play helped cut the lead to 38-35 and give the Bucs a semblance of hope, but the Giants were able to kill enough time off the clock to finish the job.
6. Week 8 - at Cincinnati Bengals - 3rd and 1 TB21 - 27yd reception
Just like the Giants game, the Bucs are attempting another comeback, but this time it was against the Bengals.
One could make an argument that this was Evans’ best game of the season. He made a mess of Cincy’s corners - and a safety or two - throughout the entirety of the matchup.
On this play, Evans battles is out with William Jackson on the left sideline. Jackson is literally hanging on Evans, but Evans is somehow able to fight off Jackson just enough to make the 27-yard grab.
Here is a great close-up from the broadcast angle of the contact that Evans had to endure in order to make this catch:
This play was instrumental to the Bucs’ comeback in this game. Without this grab, there is a good chance Tampa Bay doesn’t drive the remaining length of the field and convert the two-point attempt to tie the game up, 34-34.
It was an extremely tough decision to keep this last catch out of the top 5, but as you will see on Thursday, they somehow get better than this. Well, maybe that’s not so hard to believe if you’ve watched Evans play his entire career.
Check back in for the top 5 receptions on Thursday!