Rookie Mike Evans leads Bucs past Redskins 27-7
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) So here is this rookie, going in motion and telling a 35-year-old quarterback what to do.
The way Mike Evans is playing, no one's going to argue. The big receiver streaked down the left sideline and was open for the 36-yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown. It was part of a milestone, 209-yard game Sunday for the No. 7 overall draft pick in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 27-7 win over the Washington Redskins.
''I was motioning over. I said, `Josh, just throw it up.' He said, `Yeah, yeah,''' Evans said. ''We got the good coverage we wanted, and he threw a great ball.''
The 6-foot-5, 231-pound receiver caught seven passes and scored two touchdowns as the Buccaneers (2-8) snapped a five-game losing streak. The second TD went for 56 yards when the Redskins had a linebacker trail him down the middle of the field in the fourth quarter, the biggest no-contest in a game that turned into, well, a no-contest.
''When I have a game like that - I had a couple of those in college - it feels like getting hot in basketball,'' Evans said.
Evans said he watched the Randy Moss ''30 for 30'' ESPN special Saturday night, so it was only fitting that he is now the first rookie to post three consecutive 100-yard games with at least one touchdown in each since Moss in 1998. According to STATS, he's also the first rookie with 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns since Anquan Boldin in 2003. Evans finished 7 yards shy of Vincent Jackson's franchise record of 216.
Evans is the youngest player in NFL history with a 200-yard receiving game. It was his third consecutive game with at least seven catches, 100 yards receiving and a touchdown catch. He is the first rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
''I have been around the league for a while,'' Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said, ''and I just know that I haven't been with (a rookie) that's been able to do some of the things he's done.''
Evans accounted for 73 percent of McCown's 288 yards passing. After the previous week's loss, McCown broke down at his postgame news conference. This time, when he saw reporters making room for him to get to the dais, he deadpanned: ''Last week, y'all get wet?''
''It's a way different feeing, although (the tears) could come out right now, too,'' McCown said. ''I'm very, very pleased with what happened today.''
By the way, McCown said that Evans really did make a route change while in motion on the first touchdown pass.
''I'm telling him while he's in motion, `Yeah, do that, do that.' ... It was truly a last-second adjustment,'' McCown said.
Tampa Bay's defense also showed up, forcing three turnovers and sacking Robert Griffin III six times on the latest embarrassing day for the Redskins (3-7), who were booed early and often.
Washington also lost two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams to knee and ankle injuries and left guard Shawn Lauvao to a concussion. Kai Forbath - who had made 15 of 16 field goal attempts coming in - was wide right from 47 and 50 yards.
''It was a travesty out there today,'' said Griffin, who threw two first-quarter interceptions. ''We didn't play well. I didn't see the field as well as I would have liked to.''
The Buccaneers had forced only 12 turnovers in their first nine games - much to the chagrin of their defensive-minded coach - but the three takeaways Sunday were textbook examples of teamwork.
Danny Lansanah's running-leap interception on the game's first play from scrimmage probably doesn't happen without Johnthan Banks' hit on intended receiver Niles Paul while Paul twice bobbled the ball. Banks' 19-yard return for a score was made possible because Mason Foster tipped the pass. Foster later jarred the ball loose from Roy Helu after a 13-yard gain, and Akeem Spence recovered the fumble in a pile.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy credited Smith for laying down the law to the defense.
''He lets his staff coach,'' McCoy said. ''(But) the last couple of weeks he's been coming in there, saying, `Hey, you've got to have a different attitude.' He usually don't do that. So we take that as, `All right, we got to do something. The head man is coming in here.'''
Notes: Williams will have an MRI on Monday on his right knee. His injury happened when his leg was accidentally hit from behind by his good friend and former Oklahoma teammate McCoy. ... Other Redskins injuries: NT Chris Baker (chest), TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), LB Trent Murphy (knee).
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