Now that the playoffs are out of the way, the Bucs can get to the things that really matter: Personal records.
But in all seriousness, there’s one record that many in the Bay area have had their eyes on this year. And now that we are entering the final week of the season, those eyes are about the size of Wile E. Coyote’s eyes after the rocket gets slung back around in his direction.
If you’re not sure what record I’m referring to, it’s Randy Moss’/Mike Evans’ record of six consecutive 1,000 yard seasons to begin their careers. If Evans finishes 2020 with at least 1,000 yards, he’ll own the record all to himself.
This didn’t seem like it was going to happen about four weeks ago. The Bucs offense was going through a lull and Evans was averaging around 51 yards per game after the Kansas City matchup. The Pro Bowl receiver would need to average close to 97 yards per game over the last four games if he wanted a shot at the record.
Well, after a scintillating 10-catch, 181-yard performance against the Detroit Lions, Evans is just 40 yards out from owning the record. He currently sits at 960 receiving yards on the year.
Evans was able to notch 100+ yards against the Falcons in Week 15, so the odds of it happening again seem likely in Week 17. If you listen to what Bruce Arians said after Saturday’s win in Detroit, then I’d say it’s practically guaranteed that Evans will get what he needs to break the record.
“We knew – especially [against] this team – Tom [Brady] went against this defense for 20 years in New England [with] all the calls and everything,” Arians told reporters after the game. “He was very confident that we could get Mike the ball in this ballgame. It was forcing it to him in the second half. Every time Blaine [Gabbert] had a chance, we were going to try to get Mike that record. I was hoping he’d get it today and we wouldn’t have to play him next week, but next week will take care of itself. I desperately want that to happen. Whatever he needs – 50 [yards] or whatever he has left – I’m sure Atlanta’s not going to want to give it to him, so we’ll have to find some creative ways to get it for him.”
Boom. There you have it. Evans —and Bucs fans everywhere— have to love hearing this. It sounds like you can go ahead and lay your bets on Evans taking the cake.
At the same time, however, let’s just hope the Bucs play this correctly. We don’t want a Jameis Winston-type situation where Tom Brady is throwing three interceptions and the Bucs have to launch a 40+-yard bomb to Chris Godwin on fourth down to win the game.
Especially if there is a legit shot to move up to the No. 5 seed in the playoffs.