“You Sacrifice At Least One Rib”

February 5th, 2024

Targeted by greats.

Two old stud receivers took their shots at Mike Evans for his volleyball performance two weeks ago.

It sure was a painful memory, and Bucs fans can endure the agony again via the video below.

Evans ran a first-quarter route against Detroit that had him cut inside on the 3rd-and-17 throw.

The ball was delivered high and hard from Baker Mayfield, but catchable. Rather than squeeze it, Evans served the ball into the air. Lions cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson hauled it in and had a nice return.

Per ex-Bucs receiver Keyshawn Johnson and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin on FS1, Evans should have caught the ball and they accused him of playing scared.

“As great as Mike is, when you see color on the in-cuts, the linebacker’s right there, you’re not used to working the middle of the field like that,” Johnson said. “So, you know, he’s looking. He see color. It’s called a sneaky peak a little bit there. He’s trying to protect himself and catch the football.”

Irvin said it was a textbook protection look from Evans on a ball he should have caught. “Go make that play,” he said. (Yes, Irvin acknowledged the high throw from Mayfield.)

“It’s the playoffs. You go ahead and you sacrifice at least one rib for that catch,” Johnson barked.

Joe gets what the receiver greats are saying, but Joe thinks it’s a little harsh. Evans did extend on the play, though he did start lower than usual. Was he protecting himself after seeing blue jerseys? Maybe, but the ball also should have been fired lower.

63 Responses to ““You Sacrifice At Least One Rib””

  1. JimBobBuc Says:

    I don’t remember that play, but it seems Mike drops the ball more often early in games and generally makes better catches in the 4th.

  2. HC Grover Says:

    If you want keep vans do not say how wonderful he is.

  3. White Tiger Says:

    Yes, he shoud have caught, but agree that Baker should have delivered it lower…especially for the guy who won the precision drill at the PB…

    All in good fun. Two studs working it out in a tough environment.

    That reception by Mike at the end of the first half more than made up for it…and Baker put that where ONLY Mike could catch it.

    I’m good with it – sad it ended the way it did – but it didn’t change my mind on either Baker or Mike.


  4. Buddha Says:

    Keyshawn would not have made that catch. He was not great only good (and selfish).

  5. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    “Rather than squeeze it” I think you mean catch it. Squeeze sounds dumb.

    BTW, Irvin was a nice player but he had nothing on Mike Evans. #13 is superior, period.

    Sometimes the QB has to make the perfect throw and sometimes the WR needs to rescue the quarterback. Not sure which one you think this was but this early in the game without much pressure, Mayfield should have delivered a strike.

  6. stpetebucfan Says:

    Hindsight is 20-20. It’s like critiquing Baker’s Int at the end or Bowles lack of T.O.

    Yes the Bucs had a CHANCE to win that game in Detroit but in all honesty does anybody here believe they deserved the way they got their arses handed to them in the trenches.

    The Lions lines…O and D were simply tougher and more physical than the Bucs!
    FIX that and give her a real run in ’24. There are already a lot of pieces in house even without ME13. I think he’s gone…just too much cap space consumed with too many other needs.

    PFF Calls Luke Goeddeke most improved player of 2023 and the secret superstar. They believe Sirvocea Dennis is an early breakout candidate for ’24.

    The Bucs are not that far from the promised land if they can keep Baker at a reasonable price.

    PFF lists 3 top FA’s…Winfield…Evans and LVD. They say the ONE FA to retain is Winfield. DUH. Yes he’s the most important for the future but it would be nice to have the other two for next season.

    Calijah, Yaya…KJ Britt..Sirvocea…McCollum and Izien flashed…On O White proved to be a stud out of the backfield catching the ball..get Corum or another stud runner…Otton is getting better and Payne Durham has flashed.
    The Bucs need a monster Center and a decent LG.

    I think ME’s gone but I hope LVD will play another season. Britt..Sirvocea and LVD would make a solid group of LB’s.

    PFF says the biggest need…Edge rusher! “their” perfect prospect for the Bucs.
    Laiatu Latu UCLA. But then they ???? 2nd round Shedeur Sanders from Colorado. Claiming he doesn’t have top tier arm talent but good enough to start.
    Really? Has Neon Deon got friends at PFF. That pick makes NO SENSE!

    So I forget the prevailing wisdom here. Is PFF a joke or respected? That 2nd pick is for sure a freaking JOKE. Traskers would lose their minds and I don’t blame them since Kyle has a far superior arm than Sanders.

  7. Dave Pear Says:

    I wonder if Mike needs corrective action on his vision. He seems to have trouble tracking the rainbow bomb.

  8. Mike C Says:

    Buddha, I agree key is alot of smack talk to take, but was one of the best over the middle receivers, he knows what he is talking about here.

    And Jack, ever see someone catch the ball with the stomach or chest? Kinda just hold it to the body? Squeeze refers to the hands, the proper way to catch a football.

  9. Show Me the TDs Says:

    That’s why Evans is still doing well in his 30’s. He also turtles up and has poor YAC.

  10. Boss Says:

    mike loses the game early and pads his stats in garbage time.

    and he turtles up..

    HOF… lol only if its based on stats

  11. Dave Pear Says:

    Ya, you Mike critics are geniuses. He’s a coveted free agent because he turtles. Idjuts.

  12. Tony marks Says:

    They are wrong because they don’t watch much of Mike

    You can see it clearly in the video. the ball is fine and the catch point is fine and Mike is committed and extended.. Mike has enough time to catch and pull it down safely

    He just does what Mike does from time to time. butter fingers it.

  13. RagingBrisket Says:

    All the other great players that played the game come down with that ball in that situation. Red flag drop. He has many in his career

  14. First Name Greatest Says:

    Mike is awesome! The drops are killer though as is when he disappears in big games.

  15. BradentuckeyBuc Says:

    Show Me the TDs Says:
    February 5th, 2024 at 1:57 pm
    That’s why Evans is still doing well in his 30’s. He also turtles up and has poor YAC.

    Nailed it! He’s made a career of avoiding contact as much as possible. The upside, he rarely misses games. Downside, morphs into a T-rex or a ninja turtle more than many of us would like to admit. Often comes across as a lack of effort that you dont see from the JJ’s and the Kupps of the league.

  16. Gipper Says:

    In any game blocks are missed, tackles are missed, balls are dropped, balls are overthrown, balls are under thrown. There is never a shortage of mistakes. Instant replay magnifies these things. Paul Warfield was as close to a perfect receiver ever invented but he had such a terrible case of the drops at Ohio State practices, Woody Hayes played him at safety for awhile at OSU. In his pro career with the Browns and the Dolphins never saw him drop a pass. In those days QB’s like Frank Ryan and Bob Griese did not have cannon arms like Mayfield. Fans just have to understand that football is not a game of perfect. Unfair to think otherwise.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Keyshawn: I watched the games. You dropped passes, too. Mike Evans is the anti-Keyshawn Johnson, a team guy and one of my all-time favorite players.

  18. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Boss Says:
    February 5th, 2024 at 2:03 pm
    mike loses the game early and pads his stats in garbage time.

    and he turtles up..

    HOF… lol only if its based on stats
    New York City had “Boss Tweed”, we have “Boss Twadd” on JBF! I’m sure you’ve NEVER, EVER made a mistake Boss Twadd…You think your sh!t doesn’t stink, but your crappy posts give you away.

  19. K_bassuka Says:

    That was a bad placed pass. Maybefield needs to stop sniffing that junk that gets him overhyped, cause he’s always out of control to start the games.

  20. Conner50 Says:

    He most definitely is a HOF player, and he gets crucial touchdowns throughout the game why you hating on the best offensive player in Buc history? Your a clown

  21. Boss Says:

    dry your panties joe…….

    of course I mistakes. ask your mom.

  22. geno711 Says:

    ME’s Average Targets Air Yards (TAR) last year was elite. He was 7th highest in that category and the only one of those 7 with over 50 catches. ME had 79 catches.

    ME was 1st in receiving TD’s last year.

    Those thinking he should be a Yard After Catch (YAC) just do not understand how different receivers bring different things to the table.

    Godwin was 18th last year in YAC with a total of 376 yards. Evans was behind him with 322 YAC last year.

    This 10-year version of ME has been pretty amazing despite what the trolls may say.

  23. geno711 Says:

    The false prognosticators on Mike Evans have been around since he was drafted in 2014.

    Heard it forever.

    Other 1st rounders Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham, Brandon Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin.


    1st rounders Kevin White of the Bears, Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman. All studs right.

    1st round receivers that year were Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Josh Doctson, and Laquon Treadwell.

    1st round receivers were Corey Davis, Mike Williams of the Chargers, and John Ross. All in the 1st 10 picks.

    But yes, cr** on our 10 year best offensive productive player in our history.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So….what are they going to do….”Mike, you should have caught that pass so we are going to dock you $10 million on your next contract”…..and “Baker, you should have thrown a better pass….so we are going to dock you $5 mil on your next contract”…..

    And Keyshawn…..STFU

  25. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    I know Mike is a fan fav. I totally get it.

    But it is simple math




    Then you need a QB either in the draft or trade or FA

  26. GP Says:

    There’s a reason why tipped ball interceptions make the highlight reels. The overwhelming vast majority fall harmlessly to the turf

  27. GP Says:

    Most receivers in the league cannot sky high enough to even get fingers on the balls Mike hauls in.
    Also, I’m thinking it’s probably a better option to deflect an overthrown ball if you can as it makes it much harder to track than a straight ball.
    Gardner just happened to be in the right place at the right time, a lucky interception.

  28. Dewey Selmon Says:

    That should have been Godwin on that route, He handles the inside dirty work.

  29. DBS Says:

    So on that day the Lions had a secondary that could make plays. Our CB couldn’t catch a pass that hit him square in the breadbasket. Not worried about Evans on that play at all.

  30. orlbucfan Says:

    ProBowl was a joke. I live in O-ville. Hey Joe, I read in the (cough) NYT that Canales was a mixed race person. BS or not?

  31. infomeplease Says:

    Nobody catches them all. ME13 didn’t play his best game in Detroit, but he did play a pretty good one despite that play!

  32. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I agree with Geno!

  33. unbelievable Says:

    Tough catch on a ball that was thrown too high and into a lot of coverage…

    But that’s the only way CJGJ is ever going to get an INT, by having in float in mid-air into his lap.

    Loved watching him prematurely celebrate the following week against the Niners, only to be hanging his head in shame at the end of the game. Notice he’s been totally silent since, after running his mouth non-stop the week before?

  34. Conner50 Says:

    You so called Tampa fans on here criticizing Evans for that dropped pass or saying he turtles up too much are complete morons spilling out nonsense. He’s been nothing but consistent, and an elite player since he got into the nfl. He’s the only wr to get a 1k yards since he entered the league every season, and the best redzone threat in the nfl. He’s been producing every season and restructuring contracts to help the team be better and now wants to get paid once again before he gets too old, and yall wanna let him walk or cry about him not doing enough. So glad none of you have nothing to do with the decision making for the team. Licht will find a way to resign him I’m sure and I hope y’all cry some more about it

  35. unbelievable Says:

    @orlbucsfan – that has been discussed ad nauseam on this website.

    Yes Canales is a minority.
    No we don’t get any compensatory picks cuz he was only on the team for 1 year

  36. BucVoyager Says:

    Don’t remember either of those guys catching bombs like Mike. Yeah they caught balls over the middle but they only wish they were in Mike’s league. The one thing that Iving did better than Mike was push off defenders.

  37. Tony marks Says:

    K_bassuka Says:
    February 5th, 2024 at 3:02 pm
    That was a bad placed pass. Maybefield needs to stop sniffing that junk that gets him overhyped, cause he’s always out of control to start the games.


    Pass was fine and within the range of ANY receiver much leess a HOF receiver.

    You want 30 Mill per year as a reciever you have to be able to do more than catch balls thrown at your stomach

  38. adam from ny Says:

    mike is very savvy out there…

    he sees the field and defenders really well in general…

    and was gonna have to sacrifice 2 ribs on that play…

    tough play, but playoff football is different, so you gotta notch it up…

    unfortunate play that turned out bad in the end…

    sucks gardner was the lucky defender to catch it after the week of talk preceding the game…

    lucky int and lucky chance to gloat

  39. Since76 Says:

    Baker doesn’t have very good touch. How many times a game do you see drops. Not just drops but hands being blown apart by a rocket. Short passes need touch not that kind of heat.

  40. Capt.Tim Says:

    Nobody makes every play.
    Better days ahead for the pair of Mayfield and Evans.
    Sign’em both! I really love the Bucs reigning as NFC south champions.

  41. White Tiger Says:

    I think Jason Licht knows he needs to sign Mike Evans – lots of negotiating – there isn’t any FA that can come close to Mike’s production (not to mention the double teams he draws to free up ALL the other receivers).

    You could move Godwin to WR1 – but you need someone that us elite enough to draw attention, no one like Mike Evans in the FA market (that we could afford) that answers that call better than #13…gotta get Mike signed!

  42. WyomingJoe Says:

    Why run this article when we’re trying to RE-SIGN MIKE! I understand your job, but…

    Keyshawn is/was an a-hole. Talk about guys who bounced from team to team because they we’re a pest.

  43. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Personally I wasn’t upset about this play from Evans, yes I’d love for him to go up and get that because he can. It was a high throw from an excited and amped up Mayfield. I was more upset at Evans on some of the run blocking in situations where he could have stuck his big in there and pushed White for extra yards. Johnson and the Lions secondary are notorious for low tackles and that will always play a factor in players going up to make plays.

  44. Buc1987 Says:

    orlbucfan…I thought you said I’ll see ya’ll in August a couple weeks ago.

    You can’t stay away…

  45. unbelievable Says:

    @geno – exactly.

    More consistent with more longevity that pretty much any of those other names… But ever year we hear the same nonsense “just draft a WR in round 1 and cut Mike”, as if it were so simple.

    Licht will do everything in his power to bring him back and keep him a Buc for life.

  46. Marky Mark Says:

    Baker does not need Evans. The sucker dropped a sure touchdown on his palms against the Iggles. Any rookie will do. Bakes will find him. Like Keyshaun said Evans is over rated. Not that good. let him walk.

  47. T. McGee Says:

    These dudes played when safeties were allowed to legally hit receivers. No excuse for Mike. Today’s receivers somehow still get credit for toughness going across the middle. Not sure why… they outlawed Lynch and Ronnie Lott years ago. Catch the ball 13. Agree with Irvin.

  48. lambchop Says:

    @Marky Mark,

    Any rookie will do? Go bring back Scotty Miller or find Tyler Johnson and bring him back. Seriously, I wonder how moronic people are in real life if they’re this stupid online.

    Nobody has done what Mike has done. He’s not the best, but he’s far from “easily replaceable”.


  49. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Buddha Says
    “Keyshawn would not have made that catch. He was not great only good (and selfish).”

    Though I cannot stand the man for how he acted here…he was one of the best possession WRs in the league at the time…and he often sacrificed himself to catch dangerous passes.

    In fact, Gruden insisting the Bucs get him was a big part of getting to the superbowl.

  50. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Evans drops passes. So what? He comes thru when we need him most, and he self corrects when able.

    Marky Mark, any rookie will NOT do.

    Clearly, you have not watched the Bucs long, or you have short memory. The Bucs have had some pretty bad WRs in the past.

  51. David Says:

    I think they are wrong. I think he was trying to haul it in to make a play but didn’t finish

  52. ATLBUC Says:

    Evans wasn’t about to get hit. Both of them are hating! the ball was high and hard.

  53. Marky Mark Says:

    So now it is bad to have a strong arm.? Defenses are so tight you have to zip it in. Baker has plenty of touch. There were numerous soft rainbows for touch downs all season. You can learn to throw slow loops but you can,t teach speed or arm strength. If you are going to skewer Baker for over throws than be consistent and skewer Evans for Perfect balls on his palms that he drops like against the Eagles in the first quarter. Double standard city. Baker found otten, Palmer, and others when Evans and Godwin were doubled. Baker is Mr. Adaptability after all those coaches in just 6 years. Evans would be nice to keep but if he is gone he will turn some rookie into a star. Same with coaches. Expect Coen to be a HC in 2025.

  54. DoooshLaRue Says:

    He’s not wrong.
    ME was scared to lay out for it.

    Bye Mike.
    Let someone else pay big money for your impending decline.

  55. Conner50 Says:

    @Marky Mark
    “Any roomie will do” “Mike is overrated let him walk”
    Yea your football intelligence is zero to none, Evans is a hall of famer while Baler will never be considered one. Would like to be proved wrong because Tampa is gonna re sign baker but he will not play well enough to be considered HOF material I really doubt. Mike is and he’s definitely not overrated, no rookie will come in and get as many touchdowns or yards Evans does in his thirty’s. Think before you speak

  56. stpetebucfan Says:

    Just for the record. Perhaps I’m mistaken but I’ve always heard that any ball an NFL receiver can get his hands on is a ball that is supposed to be caught.

    As for Baker..LMAO…I’ve read here he has a noodle arm…bwaahaaa And yet ME had plenty of reasons to not catch the ball…blue jerseys included…Baker had just as many reasons to miss that throw completely. He was swamped in a sea of blue jerseys the entire game! The throw wasn’t PERFECT, but it was catchable which is all you can ask of a QB without a pocket.

  57. Sacker58 Says:

    Fix the offensive line first,fix the edge rusher issue,sign lvd,evans and Winfield draft corner that is durable and then linebacker.

  58. geno711 Says:

    Sacker58 Says:
    February 6th, 2024 at 9:49 am
    draft corner that is durable

    Seems to me that every team in the NFL has problems with keeping corners playing in all games. I know in the NFC South this year every team had corners that missed multiple games.

  59. Shane Callahan Says:

    I have to admit that I was constantly shocked by how many key drops Evans had throughout this season… For real.

  60. Shane Callahan Says:

    If they both come back, hopefully, Evans might get used to Baker’s velocity when Baker doesn’t have to split reps with Trask or whoever ends up QB2.

  61. Tony Marks Says:

    ATLBUC Says:
    February 6th, 2024 at 12:26 am
    Evans wasn’t about to get hit. Both of them are hating! the ball was high and hard.

    IF the ball hits you in the hands its an NFL ball to catch. No excuses.

    Those of you saying you need touch on interior passes with defenders are around need your IQ tested. The ball has to be rocketed in tight windows.

    Mike is a great player and HOfer but yeah he is STILL over rated on this blog. He will never be listed in the company of the all time greats. For tampa, yes but league wise – nope.

  62. covertwo22 Says:

    This is a rough one, but if Evan’s wants 30mil a year, let him walk. It sucks, but he ain’t worth that. I can think of only a hand full of great receivers that went to another team and were awesome. It doesn’t work out for the majority. Especially when they’re over 30.

  63. orlbucfan Says:

    unbelievable Says:
    February 5th, 2024 at 5:15 pm
    @orlbucsfan – that has been discussed ad nauseam on this website.

    Yes Canales is a minority.
    No we don’t get any compensatory picks cuz he was only on the team for 1 year
    If he’s a minority, he’s the whitest high yellow around. I didn’t see any references to his racial status on here during the season.