Wide receiver Mike Evans scored the last of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' three touchdowns on Sunday in Buffalo, briefly giving the team a 27-20 lead late in the fourth quarter. Evans's score was ultimately in a losing cause, as the Bills rallied for 10 points in the final three minutes to secure a 30-27 win.
Thus, Evans's latest touchdown probably does not rank as the most satisfying one of his career, but it did continue his rapid march up the Buccaneers' all-time charts. The fourth-year receiver now has 31 career touchdown receptions, which is already tied for the second-most in franchise history. Given his current rate of two TDs every three games, Evans is a good bet to be the Bucs' all-time leader in that category by season's end.
Most Career Touchdown Receptions, Buccaneers
|1. Jimmie Giles||TE||1978-86||34|
|2t. Mike Evans||WR||2014-17||31|
|2t. Kevin House||WR||1980-86||31|
|4. Joey Galloway||WR||2004-08||28|
|5. Mark Carrier||WR||1987-92||27|
Evans is also now tied for fourth in team history in total touchdowns scored, though there's a bigger gap to be closed to reach the top two.
Most Career Touchdowns, Buccaneers
|1. Mike Alstott||FB||1996-2007||71|
|2. James Wilder||RB||1981-89||46|
|3. Jimmie Giles||TE||1978-86||34|
|4t. Mike Evans||WR||2014-17||31|
|4t. Kevin House||WR||1980-86||31|
In less than three-and-a-half seasons, Evans has matched Kevin House's fine career touchdown total from seven years with the Buccaneers. Evans has four touchdowns in six games this season and 31 in 52 career outings overall. He is finding the end zone at a higher per-game rate than any other player in franchise history with at least 10 scores.
Most Touchdowns Per Game, Career, Buccaneers
|1. Mike Evans||WR||2014-17||31||52||0.60|
|2. Lars Tate||RB||1988-89||17||30||0.57|
|3. Keenan McCardell||WR||2002-03||15||30||0.50|
|4. Errict Rhett||RB||1994-97||25||52||0.48|
|5. Mike Williams||WR||2010-13||25||54||0.46|
|6. Doug Martin||RB||2012-17||27||60||0.45|
|7. Mike Alstott||FB||1996-2007||71||158||0.45|
|8. Joey Galloway||WR||2004-08||29||66||0.44|
|9. James Wilder||RB||1981-89||46||113||0.41|
|10. Bruce Hill||WR||1987-91||23||57||0.40|
Evans, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft, set a team record as a rookie with 12 touchdown receptions, then matched that total in 2016. Overall, his 31 touchdown catches are tied for the fourth most in the NFL since 2014.
Most Touchdown Receptions, NFL, 2014-17
|1t. Odell Beckham||WR||NYG||38|
|1t. Antonio Brown||WR||PIT||38|
|3. Jordy Nelson||WR||GB||33|
|4t. Mike Evans||WR||TB||31|
|4t. Dez Bryant||WR||DAL||31|
Pictures of TE O.J. Howard from Sunday's matchup against the Bills.
Rookie TE O.J. Howard scored the Buccaneers' other two touchdowns in Buffalo on catches of seven and 33 yards. He now has three TD grabs through his first six NFL games. Sunday's performance was the first two-touchdown game of his career, the first multiple-TD game for any Buccaneer this season and the first by a Tampa Bay tight end since Cameron Brate scored twice against the L.A. Rams on Sept. 26 of last year.
Brate did not score for the first time in five games but is still tied with Evans for the team lead with four touchdowns. Brate is also tied with three other players for the most touchdown catches by a tight end in NFL this year, while Howard is tied for fifth. The Buccaneers are the only team in the league with two tight ends who already have at least three touchdowns each.
Most Touchdown Receptions, Tight Ends, NFL, 2017
|**Tight End**||**Team**||**Rec. TDs**|
|1t. Cameron Brate||Buccaneers||4|
|1t. Zach Ertz||Eagles||4|
|1t. Rob Gronkowski||Patriots||4|
|1t. Marcedes Lewis||Jaguars||4|
|3t. O.J. Howard||Buccaneers||3|
|3t. Evan Engram||Giants||3|
|3t. Darren Fells||Lions||3|
|3t. Travis Kelce||Chiefs||3|
|3t. David Njoku||Browns||3|
|3t. Austin Seferian-Jenkins||Jets||3|
|3t. Jason Witten||Cowboys||3|
Howard is also tied for the NFL lead in touchdown catches among all rookies, regardless of position. Two of the players with whom he is tied – Engram and Njoku – are also on the list above. Howard, Engram and Njoku were the three tight ends drafted in the first round this past spring, with Howard going 19th to the Bucs, Engram 23rd to the Giants and Njoku 29th to the Browns.
Most Touchdown Receptions, Rookies, NFL, 2017
A behind-the-scenes look at the Buccaneers' Week 7 matchup with the Bills.
If they continued at their current per-game scoring rate, Brate and Evans would finish with 10 or 11 touchdowns while Howard would finish with eight. That would prove to be a unique group of Buccaneer pass-catchers – no two Buccaneers have ever caught 10 or more touchdown passes in the same season, and no trio of Bucs have caught eight or more TD passes in the same season.
Playing a week after suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder in Arizona, quarterback Jameis Winston was responsible for the three scoring passes to Howard and Evans. That marked the second time this year and the seventh time in his 38 NFL starts that he has thrown three touchdown passes in a game. That is already just one shy of the franchise record in that category.
Most Games with Three TD Passes, Buccaneers History
|1. Brad Johnson||2001-04||49||8|
|2. Jameis Winston||2015-17||38||7|
|3t. Trent Dilfer||1994-99||79||6|
|3t. Josh Freeman||2009-13||60||6|
|5t. Steve DeBerg||1984-87; 92-93||64||5|
|5t. Vinny Testaverde||1987-92||76||5|
Winston needs just 225 more yards to reach 10,000 on his young career, which would make him just the sixth quarterback in team history to reach that mark (also Testaverde, Freeman, Dilfer, Doug Williams and Johnson). Winston needs 966 yards to pass Johnson for fifth-place on the Bucs' all-time passing yardage chart.
With all of those players operating at a high level in the Bucs' aerial attack, Tampa Bay ranks first in the NFL with 312.3 net passing yards per game. Only the Buccaneers and the Patriots (300.0) are averaging 300 per game or better. Tampa Bay's single-season record for most net passing yards per game is 248.9, set in 2012. The highest the Buccaneers have ever finished in the NFL's passing yardage ranking was sixth in 2003 and 1982, seasons in which they averaged 237.8 and 215.9 yards per game, respectively.