On Sunday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans became the youngest player in NFL history to record a 200-yard receiving game. On Wednesday, he became the youngest Buccaneer ever to win one of the NFL's player of the week awards. One gets the distinct impression it won't be his last.
Tampa Bay's 21-year-old rookie wideout was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 11 after his 209-yard performance in the Buccaneers' 27-7 win at Washington on Sunday. Thirty years after quarterback Steve DeBerg won the team's first Player of the Week Award (Week Three, 1984), Evans finally gets Buccaneer receivers on the board. Not only is he the first Tampa Bay wide receiver ever to be named Offensive Player of the Week, he's just the third rookie in team history to get that award. Running backs Warrick Dunn (Week Two, 1997) and Doug Martin (Week Nine, 2012) also achieved that feat.
Moreover, by getting his first Offensive Player of the Week award in just his 10th NFL game, Evans joined a very exclusive list, one that happens to include the receiver he watched most avidly while growing up, Randy Moss.
Evans started the month of November with consecutive 100-yard efforts, catching seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns at Cleveland in Week Nine and following with seven grabs for 125 yards and another score against Atlanta in Week 10. He topped all of that in Washington, however, with an outing that simply couldn't be ignored. In leading the Buccaneres to their second win of the year he caught nine passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Stringing those performances together made Evans the first rookie since – yep, Randy Moss – to have at least 100 yards and at least one touchdown in three consecutive games.
Of course, it was only the Washington game that was in consideration for this week's award, and it was more than enough, as Evans became the first rookie since Arizona's Anquan Boldin in 2003 to record 200 yards and two touchdowns in a single game. Evans' onslaught, which included 140 yards in the second half, generated such notes at a breathtaking pace on Sunday; you can find a long list of them here.
In the first half of Sunday's victory, Evans caught a 51-yard pass that set up Patrick Murray's second field goal to give the Buccaneers a 13-0 lead. The Redskins closed the gap to 13-7 just before halftime and had a chance to turn the game around in the third quarter, until Evans beat two defenders to the left front edge of the end zone in the third quarter and caught a 36-yard touchdown pass. On Tampa Bay's next possession, Evans caught four passes for 104 yards – a rather impressive feat on an 80-yard drive – finishing it with a 56-yard TD catch that put the game away.
Evans is the Buccaneers' first recipient of an NFC Player of the Week award since linebacker Lavonte David won defensive honors last season in Week 12. The last Offensive Player of the Week for Tampa Bay was running back Bobby Rainey in Week 11 of the 2013 campaign. Tampa Bay players have now won 18 Offensive POTW trophies and 75 POTW awards overall since 1984. A quartet of Buccaneer wide receivers have won Player of the Week honors before, but all on special teams: Karl Williams (three times), Micheal Spurlock (twice), Jacquez Green and Sammie Stroughter.
Photos of Mike Evans' NFC Offensive Player of the Week performance vs. the Washington Redskins.