6:00 AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. — With 1:26 to go in the first half against the New Orleans Saints and trailing 31-0, wide receiver Mike Evans lined up in the slot and sprinted downfield. He turned toward the middle of the field on a dig route, connecting with quarterback Tom Brady for a 22-yard catch — their first in a long, miserable first half of a game they’d lose 38-3.
Evans, the team’s No. 1 receiver whom Brady called a “future Hall of Famer,” was targeted just once in that half, while Antonio Brown, who’d had only three practices with his new squad, was targeted four times, and Chris Godwin, who ran the same number of routes as Evans (22), was targeted five times, despite still having pins in his finger from surgery last week.
Evans is on pace for 60 catches and 777 yards, which would both be career lows.
A big part of Evans’ challenge in the Saints game was lining up against Pro Bowler Marshon