Before Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans said little about the roughing the passer call that enabled him to make a game-sealing catch four plays later during a Week 5 victory.
Evans’ catch secured a 21-15 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, October 9, which got marred by the call against Falcons defensive tackle for sacking Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. While Evans briefly acknowledged that the NFL has grown protective of quarterbacks lately, he interjected what he also thought.
“I’m happy today,” Evans told reporters with a smile in the locker room.
Evans did his part to help the Bucs win throughout on Sunday amid four catches for 81 yards. He made arguably the highlight play of the day when he reached for a 40-yard grab in traffic during the first half. It set up Brady’s 1-yard touchdown pass to running back Leonard Fournette for a 21-0 lead. Evans finished with four catches and 81 yards.
“Mike did a great job. He always does,” Brady told reporters afterward. “He’s one of our most consistent, dependable players. Just a great player.”
Evans leads the Bucs in receiving yards, 316, and touchdowns, three, in addition to catching 20 of 29 passes this season. He set a record of his own the week before against the Kansas City Chiefs when he hit 9,546 career yards from scrimmage, the all-time best in Bucs history per Buccaneers.com.
Evans Rises for Aaron Judge
After the game, Evans gave a shout out to New York Yankee star Aaron Judge for his record 62 home runs on October 4.
“Shout out to my boy Aaron Judge! MVP,” Evans, sporting a Judge jersey, said to ESPN’s Jenna Laine in the locker room.
Evans met Judge during spring training one time and “is a big fan” of him according to Laine. Judge broke Roger Maris’ legendary American League home run record with a 62nd home run for the season. The Yankees begin the AL Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday, October 11.
Similar to Evans, Judge has been known for his high character and giving off the field. Evans showed the former on Sunday after the game when he deflected credit amid FOX reporter Pam Oliver’s comments about Brady calling him a “football genius”.
“It’s just how I was raised. You know, God blessed me, so I try to use all of my abilities that He gave me and never take it for granted,” Evans told Oliver.
Evans: ‘He’s a Beast’
Amid Evans’ success on Sunday, he didn’t lead the team in receiving. Fournette did that with 10 receptions for 83 yards and touchdown, becoming the first Bucs running back to lead the team in receiving for a game since 2007.
“He’s a beast,” Evans told reporters. “All week we knew … they get real soft in coverage, and they like to play deep in their coverage, and we knew that the backs would have a good chance to get a lot of balls this weekend.”
Evans likewise praised Fournette’s rushing. The former LSU star ran for 56 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
“He can do it all,” Evans said. “He’s super durable. One of the most durable guys that I’ve been around. Super strong, hard to bring down.”