The Game Within The Game

October 30th, 2021

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One of Frank Sinatra’s iconic recordings could serve as the theme song for Mike Evans heading into Sunday’s matchup at New Orleans.

‘Ol Blue Eyes would rarely leave the concert stage without offering up a version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” a pop classic that Sinatra sang with great emotion.

When the Bucs board a flight to the Crescent City, Evans should have that tune blasting in his headphones:

I’ve got you under my skin
I’ve got you, deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me
‘I’ve got you under my skin

When Sinatra sang it, the song was an ode to a woman he was obsessed with. In Evans’ case, it’s an acknowledgement that a Saints cornerback has his full attention.

Evans and Marshon Lattimore have been going at it since Lattimore’s rookie season in 2017. Evans has had his moments, but on balance Lattimore is winning the personal duel.

Red zone warrior Mike Evans

Tale Of The Tape

In his last nine games against the Saints, Evans has caught only 27 passes for 439 yards and three touchdowns.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Lattimore is typically assigned to the opposition’s premier wide receiver. And while he hasn’t covered Evans exclusively, Lattimore seems to take special delight in shadowing No. 13.

“It’s definitely a great rivalry when we play each other,” Evans says. “There’s a lot of emotion, a lot of physicality.”

Lattimore gives away five inches to Evans, but he tends to stand tall in these matchups, which are marked by pushing, shoving and trash talking. In the latest ranking by their peers, Lattimore was voted the No. 86 player in the league while Evans ranked No. 48.

The Saints are off to a 4-2 start primarily because they lead the NFC in scoring defense. Coordinator Dennis Allen appreciates Lattimore’s drive to take on the NFL’s most dangerous targets.

“I honestly feel like cornerback is the hardest position to play in the NFL because you’re going against the best athletes in the world,” Allen says. “They know where they’re going and you have to try to figure it out.”

Most Lethal

During Tampa Bay’s 6-1 getaway, Evans has reached the end zone seven times. The only receiver with more TD catches is Cooper Kupp of the Rams. Evans burned the Bears for three scoring receptions last week — all from within Chicago’s 10-yard line. He’s been a nightmare in the red zone since entering the league in 2014 and now Evans faces a familiar challenge.

Marshon Lattimore is dead ahead. He’s been in Evans’ head and under his skin for four years.

Evans has lost his cool often against New Orleans, appearing distracted and undisciplined. Lattimore has used every weapon at his disposal to get Evans off his game.

If Evans can’t shake Lattimore on Sunday, Brady has the luxury of turning elsewhere.

Saints DC Dennis Allen has greater concerns, writes Ira Kaufman.

“They’ve got a ton of weapons,” Allen says. “They’ve got weapons at tight end, with Gronkowski likely playing this week. They’ve got a Hall of Fame quarterback, a Hall of Fame tight end, really, really good wide receivers.

“I’m not sure if Antonio Brown is playing or not, but he’s a Hall of Fame wide receiver. Mike Evans is one of the top receivers in the league. Chris Godwin has always been a tough matchup for us. Up front, they’re playing extremely well. I feel like Tristan Wirfs is one of the top right tackles in our league and I think Leonard Fournette is running the ball really well.”

While the final score is what ultimately counts as the Bucs seek to open a 2 1/2 game lead atop the NFC South, the game within the game is awfully intriguing.

Lattimore vs. Evans. Evans vs. Lattimore.

Strike up the band.

Hit it, Frank.

Watch a home game in style!

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16 Responses to “The Game Within The Game”

  1. Roy T. Buford Says:

    It appeared last game that Evans had finally not let Lattimore get to him. Hopefully that was a sign that Evans, who is not the most mature and disciplined player by far, had turned the corner and understands he cannot fall for such shenanigans. Meanwhile, Lattimore looked to be undisciplined in Seattle last Monday night, and a few smokes from Evans early on can bode great for the Bucs and geting Lattimore off his game.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Evans will get his typical catches (say 4-5), but the got a hunch the real story of the game will be Godwin & our RBs (take a page from the Saints’ playbook).

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    BTW, Fournette was 12 catches – in – 13 targets in the 3 games against New Orleans last season.

  4. Swampbuc Says:

    I hope tomorrow is the Tyler Johnson coming out party, but I’m not sure Brady will have the time to find him.

  5. Medicated Pete Says:

    No one under 90yrs old cares who Frank Sanatri is

  6. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Keep your cool Mike.
    Lattimore was in rare form against the Seahawks/Metcalf.
    I think he even threw a punch.

    Hopefully the MASTERMIND can scheme him properly.

  7. Coburn Says:

    Eh I’m 35 and love me some Sinatra from time to time. Usually like tock/metal but I like a few things here and there from other genres.

    Yeah hopefully Mike keeps his cool. Maybe Brady is already talking to him about it

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Evans will be a decoy this sunday

    *Brady doesnt really like him anyway

    The weakness of the saints is their rookie cornerback

    Chris Godwin will torch Paulson Adebo for 2 tds and over 100 yards

    *Brady loves Godwin

    Saints DC Dennis Allen is slow with adjustments. If he doesnt replace Adebo with Roby before halftime

    It will be a Bucs blowout

    Bucs win 38-21”

    Kobe Faker

  9. Buc1987 Says:

    I’m 51 and love Sinatra…shut up Pete….you’re wrong as usual.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Or, Ira….a great Electric Light (Licht) Orchestra Song…

    And I can’t get it out of my head
    No I can’t get it out of my head
    Now my old world is gone for dead
    ‘Cause I can’t get it out of my head no, no

    As far as Evans goes…..Concentrate a heavy dose of our passing game to our tight ends…….Gronk, OJ & Brate……hit them time after time all game….

  11. MikeRalstott Says:

    Appreciation of Sinatra requires taste, musicality, and maturity. Intelligence helps too. Pete, stick to football buddy. You’re obviously lacking in all four.

  12. Alanbucsfan Says:

    When I hear that song, I’m going to keep dreaming of beautiful women, not Mike Evans.

  13. Jerry Says:

    Bucs are heavy, heavy favorites among the experts and analysts. 95% pick the Bucs to win according to NFL Pickwatch. Kind of staggering that that many “experts” are picking Tampa considering the history of the rivalry and the fact the Saints swept the Bucs last season. You would think this would be a popular upset pick this week, but it’s not. Even if a game is a toss-up in people’s minds, Brady is the safer pick over Jameis.

    But the Bucs are also the defending champs and the Saints offense looked poor in the Seattle game only being able to score 13 points on a bad Seahawks defense. Although the Saints have a good defense, Tampa has a lot of weapons. And Brady is the league’s leading passer along with a ground game that’s improving. Many people just find it hard to pick against that.

  14. Craig Says:

    Evans needs to channel D.K. Metcalf and knock Lattimore on his keister a time or two.

    Evans needs to take control of the situation so Lattimore will get a flag or two trying to catch up. That will give Godwin a chance to make the Saints defense realize that they don’t stand a chance by halftime.

  15. Jason Says:

    Kobe Faker. Well said, and welcome back.

  16. Leighroy Says:

    Funny, I don’t see SOEbuc chirping on this thread… 🤔