As you may have heard, the last catch Mike Evans made in 2017 was a big one.
Evans got 16 yards on a deep out to the left sideline with 37 seconds left in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season finale against New Orleans. Those were 16 critical yards in the Bucs' incredible, game-winning, 95-yard drive, as they got the offense across midfield and set up Jameis Winston's final 39-yard touchdown toss to Chris Godwin. Those yards were important to Evans in a personal sense as well, as they put him over 1,000 – 1,001, to be exact – on the season.
The 1,000-yard mark is a fine goal for any NFL receiver, but in Evans case it extended a streak and put him into a very exclusive club. The former 2014 first-round pick has now surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons, joining A.J. Green and Randy Moss as the only players in league history to accomplish that feat. Evans will take his streak into 2018 and try to eventually catch his idol, Moss, who opened his career with six such seasons.
Evans isn't the only Buccaneer who will carry a streak of some note into next fall. Here's a look at a handful of his teammates who have an active run of some kind they can continue in 2018:
- Cornerback Brent Grimes has not yet decided if he will play next year, but the Buccaneers have made it clear to the pending free agent that they want him back. If Grimes does continue his stellar NFL career in 2018, he'll do so with a streak that no other NFL defender can match. He tied for the Bucs' lead in 2017 with three interceptions, marking the fifth straight season (and the seventh time in the last nine years) that he has recorded at least three picks. Grimes is the only player in the league who has intercepted three or more passes in each of the last five campaigns.
View some of the top photos of TE Cameron Brate from the 2017 season.
- Tight end Cam Brate followed up his breakout, eight-touchdown season in 2016 with another six scoring grabs in 2017. He is one of only three NFL tight ends who will go into 2018 with a chance to catch five or more touchdown passes for at least third consecutive year. Seattle's Jimmy Graham has done so in each of the last two years, like Brate, while Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph has reached that mark in each of the last three seasons.
- Gerald McCoy is the only defensive tackle in the NFL, and one of only 12 players overall, who has recorded at least five sacks in each of the last six seasons. McCoy is closing in on the team record for most consecutive seasons with five or more sacks; Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp did it for eight straight years from 1996-2003.
- Quarterback Jameis Winston notably began his NFL career with two consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons, becoming the first player in league history to do so. A shoulder injury that robbed him of three games and major portions of two others kept Winston from extending that streak to three seasons. However, an extremely strong five-game run to end the season allowed the third-year passer to reach the 3,500-yard mark, as he finished at 3,504. In today's pass-happy NFL, that's not a terribly rare accomplishment; Winston is one of 10 players who will ride an active streak of at least three straight 3,500-yard seasons into 2018 (Drew Brees' run is at 13 seasons!). However, Winston is just the third quarterback to do so in his first three NFL seasons, joining the Indianapolis duo of Peyton Manning (1998-2000) and Andrew Luck (2012-14). Manning kept his streak alive for 13 years before missing all of 2011 with a neck injury. Luck ran into injury issues sooner and saw his streak capped at three years. Thus, Winston could forge the second-longest career-opening run of 3,500-yard passing seasons with another one in 2018.
- Linebacker Lavonte David forced five fumbles and recovered five fumbles in 2017. He tied for second in the NFL in the former category and led all players in the latter. David has now recorded at least two forced fumbles in each of the last five seasons. He is one of only four players to do so, joining Washington's Ryan Kerrigan, Carolina's Julius Peppers and the L.A. Rams' Robert Quinn. David has also recovered at least one fumble in every campaign since 2013. David is the only player in the NFL to have both forced and recovered at least one fumble in each of the last five seasons. He'll try to make it six in a row in 2018.