Mon, 23 May 2022

Mike Evans Conquering New Ground

19 Jan 2022, 18:26 GMT+10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Data Crunch: The Bucs' all-time leading receiver is now hunting down franchise postseason records, while Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski extended some incredible marks and Ryan Succop stayed perfect Scott Smith

Over the course of eight literally* unmatched seasons, Mike Evans has mowed down virtually every regular season receiving record in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. Now he has found new territory to conquer: the postseason.

(* Evans is the only player in NFL history to begin his career with eight straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons.)

When we last watched Evans at work, he was wrapping up the 2021 regular season with a performance against the Carolina Panthers that carved out yet another corner of the Bucs' record books. His two touchdown catches in that game gave him 14 on the season, a new team single-season standard for both scoring receptions and overall touchdowns. Evans also surpassed 1,000 yards in that contest, which not only extended the record noted parenthetically above but also made him one of just six players in NFL history with eight straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons at any points in their careers.

Until last year, the greatest offensive player in franchise history didn't have a chance to chase any playoff records, as the Bucs were shut out of the postseason dance in each of his first six seasons. But he has now played five playoff contests after Sunday's 31-15 Wild Card win over the Philadelphia Eagles, and those records are starting to fall, too.

Evans was the leading yardage producer for the Buccaneers in their Sunday afternoon rout, which at one point in the fourth quarter was a 31-0 blanking. On just 10 targets from Tom Brady, Evans caught nine passes for 117 yards and one touchdown. Those catches set a new Bucs' single-game playoff record and the yards were just two off his own mark from his very first postseason exposure. There have now been four 100-yard receiving games in the team's postseason annals and Evans owns half of them.

Most Receptions, Postseason Game, Buccaneers History

Most Receiving Yards, Postseason Game, Buccaneers History

Evans surpassed 300 career receiving yards in the playoffs with his prolific outing against the Eagles and is closing in on the top spot for the Buccaneers in that category, too.

Most Career Postseason Receiving Yards, Buccaneers History

Evans scored the Bucs' final touchdown of the game on a 36-yard catch-and-run late in the third quarter. Brady also threw a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski on the previous drive before that one. Evans and Gronkowski are now tied for the most touchdown receptions in franchise postseason history.

Most Career Postseason Touchdown Receptions, Buccaneers History

(* Playoff games with the Buccaneers.)

Gronkowski finished the game with five receptions for 31 yards and that score, in the process further cementing his place as one of the most prolific pass-catchers in NFL postseason history. He passed Cliff Branch to move up to fourth on the all-time playoff receiving yardage chart and put a little distance between himself and John Stallworth on the touchdown receptions list. It's worth noting that Gronkowski is the only non-wideout on either of the lists below.

Most Career Postseason Receiving Yards, NFL History

Most Career Postseason Receiving Touchdowns, NFL History

(* Teams for which the player played in the postseason.)

Last season, Brady and Gronkowski hooked up for two touchdowns during the Buccaneers' Super Bowl LV victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. That made them the most prolific postseason touchdown duo in NFL history, breaking a tie with Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. That means their TD connection against Sunday on Philadelphia only extended a league record rather than breaking one, but it's still worth taking a look at the list as Brady and Gronkowski began another postseason journey together.

Most Postseason Touchdown Passes Between Two Teammates, NFL History

Similarly, Brady has set NFL postseason passing records that are so overwhelming they may never be topped. Still, it is eye-opening to take an updated look at how thoroughly has lapped the rest of the field.

Most Career Postseason Passing Yards, NFL History

Most Career Postseason Touchdown Passes, NFL History

(* Teams for which the player played in the postseason.)

Against the Eagles, Brady completed 29 of 37 passes for 271 yards and those touchdowns to Evans and Gronkowski. He was not intercepted and he finished with a passer rating of 115.2. That marks the ninth time in his career he has compiled a passer rating of 115 or better in a playoff game and the 19th time he's finished over 100. It was also the second-best mark in a single game in Buccaneers franchise history, after his own performance in Super Bowl LV. Brady actually has the top four spots on that list.

Highest Single-Game Passer Rating, Postseason, Buccaneers History

Running backs Giovani Bernard and Ke'Shawn Vaughn both scored the first postseason rushing touchdowns of their career in the first quarter on Sunday afternoon, helping the Buccaneers get to their final point tally of 31. That marks the fifth straight playoff victory for Tampa Bay in which it scored 30 or more points. The Buccaneers joined the Saints and the Chiefs as the only NFL teams ever to do that. New Orleans did it in six consecutive games from the 2009 playoffs through the 2011 postseason and Kansas City did it five times in a row during the 2018 and 2019 playoffs.

Finally, kicker Ryan Succop provided the Bucs' other seven points with extra points and one 34-yard field goal. In nine career playoff games with the Chiefs, Titans and Buccaneers, Succop has yet to miss a field goal attempt, making 14 out of 14. That includes all 10 he has tried in five games with Tampa Bay. Succop is now one of only five kickers in NFL history to make at least 10 field goals in the postseason without a miss.

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