TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't award wide receiver Mike Evans a new contract prior to the Sept. 9 deadline he and agent Deryk Gilmore set, but his play in Sunday's 27-17 victory over the Chicago Bears certainly made a case for it.
Evans finished with eight catches for 171 receiving yards and a touchdown, his 10th career game with 150 or more receiving yards. It moved him out of a three-way tie with Tyreek Hill and T.Y. Hilton for most games of 150 or more receiving yards since 2014.
"I mean, you guys have seen it for years," coach Todd Bowles told reporters after the game. "You know he has been doing it his whole career. He's fresh. He's healthy. He's in a great place. He competes his butt off every day in practice. It showed in the game. He prepared well and Mike was doing things that Mike does, and you know, we love him."
Evans' touchdown catch from Baker Mayfield came in the third quarter on a go route in which Evans sprinted 32 yards downfield and dove backwards into the end zone, with safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson converging on him. There was also a 36-yard catch and run where Evans leapt up to catch the ball and spun his way around safety Elijah Hicks to avoid a tackle, and a 20-yard reception on third-and-11.
"He's been doing this for a long time at a high level. You saw a couple contested catches there and just plays after the catch, as well," Mayfield said. " It was kind of either throw it out of bounds or [throw an] only-he-can-get-it play there on the left sideline, their sideline, and he takes it the rest of the way."
Evans also had a spectacular 70-yard catch-and-run to set up running back Rachaad White's 4-yard touchdown in which Evans hit 20.68 miles per hour on the play.
"That catch and run going toward the ship - he's just a stud," Mayfield said. "He's the best go-ball runner versus off-coverage in the league. That's where that touchdown was, off-corner. He just closes that space so quickly and accelerates. We're lucky to have him."
The people of X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, took notice. After the game, "Pay Mike Evans" was one of the top trending sports topic on the site.