Evans has struggled against New Orleans

by Gary Shelton on January 13, 2021

in general

Evans needs to be good against the Saints./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

If you were to describe Mike Evans' career with the Tampa Bay Bucs, it would be easy.

"Money in the bank" would do for a start.

Over the years, he has become the Bucs' most dependable player. Seven seasons, seven years with 1,000 or more yards receiving. He's tough. He's dangerous. He plays hurt.

But his games against the New Orleans' Saints, particularly on the road, have been the stuff of nightmares.

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In Sunday night's playoff game against the Saints, the Bucs need him to be more. They need him to play as he has been the last month. In his last four games, Evans has caught 25 passes for 456 yards as the Bucs have had their best four games of offense all year.

History, however, isn't as kind.

Earlier this year against the Saints in New Orleans, Evans had one catch for only two yards in Tom Brady's first game. Last year in New Orleans, Evans didn't have a catch. In 2017, he had one catch for 13 yards (and was penalized for a blindside hit on Marcus Lattimore).

True, Evans has had his moments against the Saints, too, most of them in 2018. That game, he caught seven passes for 147 yards. But that's his only 100-yard game against the Saints in 13 games (By comparison, he has four against Atlanta, also in 13 games).

There have been only six times in 106 games that Evans has been held to one catch or fewer, and four of those have come agains the Saints. Three of them have come against Lattimore.

It's clear. The Saints go into a game against the Bucs with extra emphasis on stopping Evans. In those 13 games, he is averaging less than 3 1/2 catches for barely more than 53 yards per game.

Now, here comes Lattimore and his buddies all over again.

True, the Bucs have more receiving depth than they've ever had, and Tom Brady may have had the best season at quarterback the team has had.

But to upset the Saints, the Bucs need all of their weapons, especially their most dependable one.

This time, he has to get the best of Lattimore.

The game is at 6:40 p.m. on Sunday.

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