Tom Brady found a deadly target in Mike Evans just coming off a knee injury and only expecting to be 70-80 percent as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers captured their first playoff win in almost 20 years.
Evans shined in his return from injury with a team high 119 receiving yards on six catches in 31-23 Wild Card victory on Saturday night. The three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver impressed Brady for his toughness in the process per WSTP’s Grace Remington via Twitter.
Tom Brady on Mike Evans, who had a 119-yard game six days after his knee injury: “Mike played his butt off. We weren't sure whether he was going to go or not. He just did an incredible job fighting through it and made a bunch of big plays when we needed it.” #GoBucs
— Grace Remington (@GraceRemiWTSP) January 10, 2021
Evans posted the team’s second-longest catch of the night of 35 yards. He also caught a 19-yard pass on that set up the Bucs’ last touchdown for a 28-16 lead.
Tight end Cameron Brate, who caught the touchdown on the next play, said Evans’ competitiveness shines through per Buccaneers.com’s Scott Smith.
Cam Brate: "Can't say enough about Mike [Evans]. Consummate pro. His heart, and how much he wants to win."
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) January 10, 2021
Evans injured his knee while going for a touchdown grab in Week 17 against Atlanta and slipped on the turf in the end zone, hyper-extending his knee. His MRI showed no structural damage in his knee, but the Bucs kept him a game-time decision. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians anticipated Evans being at partial strength all week, but Evans’ performance at Washington didn’t surprise him, he alluded to according to Buccaneers.com’s Carmen Vitali.
Arians said Mike Evans was probably at 85-90%, "which for Mike is great. He played most of the season at 70."
Can't say enough about the night Evans had.
— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) January 10, 2021