As of Sunday afternoon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has something in common with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the latter of whom is almost surely a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
Evans caught four passes for 58 yards during the Buccaneers' wild 34-29 affair in the Atlanta Falcons' Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That pushed his career totals to 342 receptions for 5,053 yards, in the process making him the Buccaneers' all-time leader in receiving yards. Evans and Fitzgerald (15,760 yards from 2004 to the present) are the only active players in the NFL to hold their respective franchise's record in that category.
Here are the top five in Buccaneers' history in receiving yards:
Evans eclipsed Carrier's Buccaneer record in just 66 games. His numbers through 66 games are eerily similar to what Fitzgerald had at the exact same spot in his career with the Cardinals. Evans' stat line in catches, yards and touchdowns reads 342-5,063-35; Fitzgerald after 66 games had a line of 366-5,090-39.
Evans actually surpassed the career 5,000-yard mark in the Buccaneers' previous game at Chicago in Week Four. In the process he became just the ninth player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to get to that plateau in 65 games or less.
Players with 5,000+ Receiving Yards in Their First 65 Games, NFL History
* Seasons indicate the years in which the first 65 games took place
Evans is already the Buccaneers' all-time leader in touchdown receptions, with 35, and he's second in catches, with 342. Former running back James Wilder still holds the top mark in that category, with 430.
Evans' 58 receiving yards in Atlanta actually represent his lowest game total this year, but he is still averaging nearly 100 yards per game and is on pace for 1,549 yards this season. While it's a little early to put too much stock in "pace" statistics, that total would represent a new career high for Evans and a new single-season record for the Buccaneers.
Assuming he doesn't miss a game, Evans would need to average just 46.9 receiving yards per game the rest of the way to hit the 1,000-yard mark. If he does hit four digits again, he would join A.J. Green and Randy Moss as the only players in NFL history to hit 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first five seasons.
Those 484 yards by Evans mark the third-highest total a Buccaneer has ever had through the first five games of any season, though they are not even the most by a Buccaneer this year. Keyshawn Johnson set the bar in 2001 with 548 yards through the first five games, and DeSean Jackson already has 501 this year. The Buccaneers are the only team in the league with two players in the top 10 in receiving yards per game this season. Here are the top 10:
Evans was not the Buccaneers' leading receiver in Atlanta. Adam Humphries led the way with 82 yards on three catches, followed by DeSean Jackson's 77 yards on four grabs. With O.J. Howard (4-62) and Chris Godwin (6-56) also putting up good numbers, the Buccaneers' offense accomplished something it hadn't done in more than a decade. Sunday's game was the first one since 2007 and just the third one in franchise history in which five different Buccaneers recorded 50 or more receiving yards each.
Games with Five Different Players with 50+ Receiving Yards, Buccaneers History