For Bucs to hang on, Evans must do the same

by Gary Shelton on November 16, 2023

in general

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Imagine a football, spinning through the air.

Imagine familiar hands, going up to catch it.

Imagine Mike Evans in the end zone, posting up a safety as he has done for a decade.

Now imagine the end of the play. Does Evans catch the ball, or does it slip through his fingers? Again?

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These days, it’s a tough question. Evans is among the Bucs most trusted players, but these are not trustworthy times. Too many times, he has not come up with a catch. Too often, there is nothing sure about the hands of Evans.

On the surface, Evans is on his way to a fine season. In a half-season, he has 42 catches for 737 yards. He remains one of the Bucs’ most lethal weapons.

After nine games, Evans is officially tied for second in the NFL in dropped passes with four (although it seems like double that). There are days like Sunday, when he came back to redeem himself. Still, it’s been odd to see Evans’ struggles.

Of course, everyone knows how much the Bucs depend on Evans. In his nine previous seasons, he’s had more than 1,000 yards every season. He has 726 catches, and he’ll have a fine argument for the Hall of Fame.

Hey, it’s true. All great receivers drop passes. Jerry Rice. Calvin Johnson. Randy Moss. All of them.

But Evans’ frequency of drops seems to be increasing at a time they need him the most. The Bucs have zero running game. The defense comes and goes. There is only Evans and Chris Godwin and … who?

Can the Bucs stay in contention for the NFC South title? 

Much of it is in Evans’ hands. Once, that was a fine place for it to be.

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