Mike Evans botched what should have been one of the easiest touchdown catches of his career early in the third quarter of a 7-3 game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
The star wideout was alone in the middle of the end zone, with the nearest Titans defender 3.7 yards away, per Next Gen Stats, but he juggled the ball and missed the chance for seven points. At that stage of the game, it was a costly four-point swing.
It was much easier for Evans to joke about after he helped spur the second-half offense that saw the Bucs run away with a 20-6 victory.
"I was wide open, and I dropped it," Evans said postgame of his error. "Got a little cocky thinking about what fan I was going to give the ball to. Can't do that."
Asked if he really was thinking about the fans, Evans responded dryly: "I don't want to talk about it. I got what I deserved."
Evans responded on the ensuing drive, securing a touchdown on a 22-yard grab from Baker Mayfield, dragging a defender to pay dirt. On the afternoon, Evans put up six grabs for 143 yards and a TD. Since 2014, Evans has 18 games with 120-plus yards and one or more receiving TD, fourth most in the NFL in that span.
Whatever the reason for the inexplicable drop, Evans overcame the flub to help the Bucs snap a four-game losing streak and keep themselves in play within the NFC South.
"No one holds themselves to a higher standard than Mike, and I know he was frustrated by the (drop)," tight end Cade Otton said, via the Tampa Bay Times. "He's talked to me during games after I've dropped a pass and told me not to dwell on it because another one is going to be coming, and next time I'm going to make the play.
"To see him put that into practice on the field is powerful stuff. He's just a great pro."