Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Mike Evans experienced his first flash as an NFL pass-catcher in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins last weekend. At least that was the case for a few moments.
Catching a short pass from Mike Glennon, Evans shrugged off potential tacklers and dashed 42 yards for what was ruled a touchdown on the field. Upon video review, officials determined that Evans didn't have possession of the ball when he broke the plane of the goal line. The ball was punched out of his grip by a chasing Brent Grimes a stride or so before reaching the end zone and the play was ruled a touchback going the other way.
“It was a little embarrassing,” Evans admitted in the postgame press conference. “I want to still win even though it’s preseason. I still want to win. That touchdown could have helped us win. We lost by six. It’s a learning experience though. I’m happy it’s the preseason. Happy I can get that out of the way.
“Good play by him (Grimes) you know — he surprised me,” Evans added. “I didn't know he was going to close. He hit my arm and it went out of bounds. I kind of knew it was a fumble before [they called it]. That’s why I didn't celebrate really. I was like ‘Man, it’s coming back.’”
Starting quarterback Josh McCown says experience is the best teacher.
“You know, I don’t think we have to have any conversation. And as unfortunate as it is, that is the best teacher,” McCown told the media. “And especially for young guys coming to this league, you want to tell them those things. And there is nothing better than that. And again, it stinks, because it would have helped us win the game, but at the same time, if that is Carolina and that is a game that matters, then he scores the ball now because he learns that lesson. But there is value in it and I don’t think you have to say much, he was pretty ticked off at himself.”
Evans, who finished the game with two catches for 52 yards, is certain to learn from the rookie mistake.
“I know Mike [Evans] fumbled the ball, but it’s a great play to get it down to there,” said Lovie Smith. “He’ll keep it in his outside arm next time and hold on to it a little bit tighter. As a rookie you learn from mistakes like that, but our rookies are doing too many good things for me to really harp on that too much.”
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