The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new touchdown king, though they won't have to change the first name on the trophy.
On Monday night at Raymond James Stadium, wide receiver Mike Evans broke Mike Alstott's franchise record for total touchdowns scored, finding the end zone for the 72nd time in his career, one more than Alstott's long-standing record of 71.
It is one of the most significant team records to fall in decades, and it was a long time coming. Alstott's record stood for almost exactly two decades. He first became the Bucs' leading touchdown producer on November 26, 2001 when his second score in a 24-7 win over the St. Louis Rams – an eight-yard run – gave him 47 in his career. That was one more than the previous record of 46 set by running back James Wilder from 1981-89.
Evans broke the record on Sunday with a 5-yard catch on a pass thrown by Tom Brady. He had tied the record on a 40-yard score at Washington in Week 10. Evans now has a team-leading 10 touchdowns on the season, marking the fourth time in eight NFL seasons he has reached double digits in that category.
Alstott got to his final total of 71 touchdowns with 58 on the ground and 13 through the air. All but one of Evans' 72 were touchdown catches, but he also scored once on a recovery of a teammate's fumble in the end zone. Alstott also scored on three two-point conversions while Evans has done that four times. As such, Evans now has 440 total points scored as a Buccaneer, to 432 for Alstott. The only three players in franchise history with more points than those two are kickers Martin Gramatica (592), Michael Husted (502) and Connor Barth (477).
The transfer of a franchise's all-time touchdown record is a momentous occasion in the NFL. Evans is one of only two active players in the league who owns a team's career TD mark, and the other one is a current teammate of his. Tight end Rob Gronkowski scored a franchise-record 80 touchdowns for the New England Patriots from 2010-18. Gronkowski was also the most recent player before Evans to take over a franchise touchdown lead, as he passed Stanley Morgan (68 touchdowns) with his 69th on October 30, 2016 against Buffalo.
Only eight of the 33 current franchise touchdown leaders (Buffalo has a tie at the top) even played in the previous decade. Evans and Gronkowski are the only two whose careers began in the 2010s.
Evans adds this record to a growing list of franchise firsts. He also holds the Buccaneers' all-time records for receptions, receiving yards, touchdown catches and 100-yard receiving games. He also owns Tampa Bay's single-season records for receiving yards and touchdown catches and is tied for the most overall touchdowns in a single campaign.