Injured in Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ home victory
TAMPA, Fla. — In a matter of seconds, the elation of becoming the first NFL player to record 1,000 receiving yards in his first seven seasons turned to agony as Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, a three-time Pro Bowler, fell to the turf, writhing in ache after hyperextending his left knee in the end zone.
“I think the life in the stadium actually simply got sucked out of it,” wide receiver and close good friend Chris Godwin stated. “And I feel that is actually while you see how important Mike is to this crew, this group, and to this metropolis.”
Evans did not get to rejoice the milestone along with his coaches and teammates on the sideline, as a substitute limping off the sector and onto a cart as soon as inside the tunnel. He then left the stadium — the place his face has been etched on its facade the previous several years — to bear an MRI.
Evans’ MRI revealed no structural harm to his knee, a supply confirmed to ESPN, as first reported by Fox Sports activities’ Jay Glazer. The supply stated it is too quickly to inform whether or not Evans will play subsequent week within the playoffs, however, the crew is hopeful.
“It meant the world for him to get that report after which to have an easy landing — the turf was actually slick in the long run zones, and it was only a freaky thing,” stated coach Bruce Arians, who was in a position to supply a glimmer of hope after the sport. “Knock on wooden, we don’t assume there’s any severe harm. We’ll know extra within the next 24 hours.”
The Bucs managed to deal with enterprise, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 44-27. They achieved their aim of clinching the fifth seed within the NFC postseason, which ensures they’re going to play the NFC East champion Washington Soccer Crew.
The Bucs completed the common season 11-5, simply the fourth time in franchise historical past that they’ve completed with 11 wins. However, the uncertainty with Evans tainted the thrill, at the same time as they pulled collectively to win.
“It is always tough while you see guys exit,” stated quarterback Tom Brady, who threw for 4 touchdowns to carry his season whole to 40, the second-most in his profession, behind the 50 he threw in 2007. “[I’m] pleased with him for everything he is gone by means of this 12 months and what he is fought through. It is an incredible report to have. Toughness, dependability, not clearly [only] ability, but attitude performs an enormous issue into these issues. I simply love enjoying with the man, so when he went out, different guys actually stepped up and made a bunch of performs.”
Inside linebacker Kevin Minter stated of Evans. “He would not have wished it every other method. We completed this factor for [No.] 13.”
Godwin completed with 133 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Antonio Brown, lining up in Evans’ “X” spot, completed with 138 receiving yards and two touchdowns, with each scoring touchdowns within the closing 4 minutes to place the sport out of attaining.
“It [was] undoubtedly a curler coaster of feelings,” stated Godwin, who noticed Evans deal with an excellent greater workload when he missed video games due to a number of accidents this season. “He breaks the report, and that is one thing that — a man being right here for 4 years and watching him shut in on that — I used to be so pleased with simply the person that Mike is and the way in which he works, so I feel that’s actually superior. Then, next play, he goes down. It hurts — I really feel for my brother — but I am hoping he makes a speedy restoration.
“He does a lot for everybody round right here, and seeing him get harm — everybody kinda felt for that. However I feel as a group, I feel we did a reasonably good job of bouncing again. It took a pair performs there, but we realized there was a process at hand, and we received again to work.”
Evans entered the game needing 40 yards for the report. When he received that number right down to 14 yards, he caught a 20-yard cross from Brady to make it 46, with followers rapidly leaping to their toes. But the temper turned, somber rapidly. With 24 seconds to go within the first quarter, the three-time Pro Bowler cut inside to catch what would have been a 10-yard landing cross, however instead, his left knee bent awkwardly, with each Evans and the ball falling to the bottom. He sat for a number of seconds before being helped off the sector, unable to place any weight on his left leg.
“It was undoubtedly devastating seeing that happen, particularly proper after the accolade that he simply had,” cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting stated. “However realizing Mike and realizing how he’s, all he’d need for us is to maintain enjoying arduous and hold enjoying for one another and each other and to maintain being a household and being a crew.”
“He is a big part of the leadership,” Arians stated of Evans, emphasizing that the Bucs needed to shift their give attention to what they may still control. “It sounds chilly at instances, but you must go on.”
When requested how a lot of the slick subject situations performed a task in Evans’ damage, Arians stated, “Totally. It simply [gave] out from beneath him.”
The Bucs had already clinched a playoff spot heading into Sunday’s game however have been combating for the fifth playoff seed. Arians stated final week that he hoped Evans may have clinched the record then so he may sit him in Week 17. But they wanted this win to make sure they may face a weaker NFC East opponent.
Now, his status going ahead is uncertain. Evans has been the Bucs’ No. 1 wide receiver for the previous a number of years, ceaselessly drawing the eye of opposing defenses with shadow protection and double protection. He additionally has been arguably Brady’s most precious goal within the quarterback’s first year in Tampa Bay, catching a team-leading 13 landing passes.
For now, Brady and Arians are each optimistic. The offense seems to have resolved the issues it was having with slow begins. For the second week in a row, the Bucs scored a touchdown on their opening drive, managed to place 4 quarters together and put up 40-plus points.
“Chris retains making plays, Scotty [Miller] did a good job, Tyler [Johnson] made some plays, Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], Cam [Brate], everyone — A.B. [Brown], clearly, [as well],” Brady stated. “Just got to keep it going. We’ve got a big one next week — all of it comes down to 1 game. Now that the common season’s over, it is about one football game — who plays well [and] who executes when the pressure is on.”