Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans got off to a hot start during the Week 17 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. In the first quarter, he led all receivers with three receptions for 46 yards, and even made some NFL history. As the Bucs were driving late in the opening quarter, Evans became the only wideout in NFL history to begin his career with seven straight 1,000-yard seasons. The very next play, however, Evans injured himself while attempting to make another catch.
On first down at the Falcons’ 11-yard line, Tom Brady hit a wide-open Evans in the end zone, but he dropped the ball and appeared to hyperextend his knee. The grass was damp according to Fox’s broadcast crew, and it looks like it had something to do with Evans’ injury.
Check out the play, here:
Evans was officially ruled out by the team in the second quarter. What makes this injury worrisome is that Evans had a hard time walking off the field. Several times, the Pro Bowl wideout stood up and then had to go down again after struggling to put weight on that left leg. Once he was helped off the field, he was carted to the locker room for further evaluation.
Evans, who recently broke the Buccaneers’ single-season record for receiving touchdowns with 13, is a huge part of this offensive attack and would surely be missed if he can’t play in Tampa Bay’s first playoff game.
“Knock on wood, we don’t think there’s any serious damage,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said after Tampa Bay’s 44-27 win, according to Sara Walsh of Fox Sports. “We’ll know more in the next 24 hours.”
The Buccaneers decided not to rest their starters this week in order to secure the fifth seed in the NFC. It certainly wouldn’t have been worth it if Evans has indeed suffered a serious injury.