Bucs receiver Mike Evans had one of his worst days as a pro in last Sunday’s loss at Carolina, but quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick says he shares the blame for it.
Evans was targeted 10 times and made just one catch for 18 yards, well below his 110-yard per game average. It was only the third time in 69 games he had been held to a single catch or fewer.
Credit Panthers cornerback James Bradberry, who allowed just one catch on seven passes thrown Evans’ direction. He also had three tackles and two pass breakups.
“They did a nice job,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think when a receiver doesn’t have production, especially with the amount of targets he had, a lot of that falls on me in terms of being able to pick and choose my spots and better ball location on some of the throws. Better timing on some stuff. You know, there were a couple throwaways and knockdowns that get added to that total that make it look maybe worse than it was. I’ve got to do a better job.
“Mike’s a guy that I’ve leaned on all year and will continue to lean on. When we get those one-on-one matchups, Mike, we think, is up there in the top two or three guys in the league, and how he goes, we go.”
Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken says he’s expecting a bounce-back game from Evans Sunday against Washington.
“Well, first off, Mike is a heck of a football player, and we always count on him,” Monken said. ‘He’s our X. We count on him to win, and the majority of the time he does. I’m not going to get really into specifics, but we do expect Mike to bounce back and have a great week this week.”
Evans agreed. “That’s just one game,” he said. “I’ve watched the film. I know where I can improve. Got to make the corrections.”
Evans did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury but returned to work on Thursday.
“One thing I will say I’m really confident in Mike is his ability to bounce back,” coach Dirk Koetter said. “I’ve seen him do it multiple times. I thought his comments, number one, Mike always owns it. Whatever happens, he always owns it. And then second, he gave his opponent credit.
“The guy played a good game against him. And Mike is going to have another good matchup. Mike sees the other team’s best cover guy most weeks, and he’s been pretty successful doing it. I think Mike will be fine. I don’t have a good reason for it happening other than Bradberry played a good game against him.”