Mike Evans' Accolades
Mike Evans became the offensive catalyst against the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, taking advantage of single coverage on the outside and the Panthers' use of Cover 1. He put up one of the greatest games in NFL history by a receiver. He concluded the matchup with 10 catches for 207 yards and three touchdowns – a franchise record. All of his touchdown catches came on go routes down the right sideline. In the process, Evans surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the year, extending his streak of consecutive seasons with 1,000 receiving yards to nine – becoming the first NFL player to begin his career with such a streak and joining only two Hall of Famers to have accomplished the feat in their respective careers: Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. For his explosive performance between the hash marks, Evans was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his emergence against the Panthers. He is the only player this season to record 200-plus receiving yards and three touchdowns in a single contest, which spurred the Bucs' thrilling 30-24 comeback victory.
Bruce Arians ROH
Former Head Coach Bruce Arians was inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2023. Arians rung in the new year with a halftime ceremony during the Bucs' Week 17 game against the Carolina Panthers. He became the 14th member of the Ring of Honor and the fourth coach on the list, joining John McKay, Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin. Arians' induction ceremony was originally scheduled for the Bucs' Week Four game against the Kansas City Chiefs. It was postponed due to the possibility of that game being relocated due to the threat of Hurricane Ian. In addition to his fellow coaches, Arians joined the following players in the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor: Lee Roy Selmon, Jimmie Giles, Paul Gruber, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Mike Alstott, Doug Williams, John Lynch and Ronde Barber. Late Owner/President Malcolm Glazer is also in that exclusive group.
Arians served as Buccaneers head coach for three seasons from 2019-21, amassing a 31-18 (.633) regular season record, a 5-1 (.833) postseason record, and delivered the organization's second Super Bowl title with a victory in Super Bowl LV following the 2020 season. During his time as head coach, the Buccaneers led the NFL in points scored (29.8 per game), passing yards (300.0 per game), passing touchdowns (118), completions (1,284) and passing first downs (755), ranked third in total yards (396.2 per game), fourth in first downs (22.9 per game), and seventh in sacks allowed (92). Arians is Tampa Bay's all-time leader in regular season and postseason winning percentage.
During the offseason, Arians announced his retirement from coaching, concluding a 46-year coaching career. He is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, earning the award in 2012 (Indianapolis Colts) and 2014 (Arizona Cardinals). He is one of only 12 coaches in NFL history to win the award multiple times and is the only coach in the NFL history to do so with multiple teams in a three-year span. Arians owns an 89-51-1 (.635) regular season record, which is the eighth-highest winning percentage among coaches who have coached at least 100 games in the Super Bowl era.
Philosophy vs. Falcons
There is nothing left to play for in terms of standings in Week 18 against the Falcons, raising the question, who will start? During the week of preparation for Atlanta, the Bucs' coaching staff stressed the desire to play the regular starters to build momentum heading into the playoffs and to fine-tune problem areas that have plagued the team in 2022. Sunday provides an opportunity for the Bucs to stack their third-straight win ahead of the postseason and to show that the offensive continuity against Carolina can be maintained
"We can get better at a lot of things, so right now I'm planning on playing them," Todd Bowles stated. "We'll see as the week goes forward, but we can get better at a lot of things that we need to work on, and we don't need to take our foot off the gas."
Every game and every snap provides a chance for growth - a mantra the team has embodied heading into the regular-season finale.
-With an Eagles win and a Cowboys' loss, the Buccaneers will play Dallas.
- With a Cowboys win paired with an Eagles' loss, Tampa Bay will play Philadelphia.
- If both teams have the same output (win or lose), the Bucs then play the Cowboys.