Analysis

Marshon Lattimore motivated to continue dominance vs. Bucs WR Mike Evans

Like most players, New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore takes pride in skills on the football field. But as someone who has grown up in the age of social media, Lattimore isn't afraid of making his mark there, too, especially when it comes to Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans´╗┐.

After holding Evans without a catch in their most recent matchup back in early November -- and, for that matter, in their last three meetings -- Lattimore wanted to make sure all of his Twitter followers knew about his dominance, and certainly didn't mind if Evans saw it, as well.

Lucky for us, "next year" has come as quickly as the calendar turned. The two heavyweights square off for Round 3 in the Divisional Round finale on Sunday night in New Orleans. Lattimore wasn't made available to the media this week, while Evans brushed past secondary questions regarding the cornerback, focusing instead on the matchup of the two teams.

"It's definitely a great rivalry," Evans said Wednesday. "When we play each other, there's a lot of emotion, a lot of physicality."

Lattimore hasn't traveled with Evans from snap to snap because that's just not how the Saints play defense under coordinator Dennis Allen. But his success versus the bigger-framed pass catcher is certainly a factor. It's not hard to imagine a cautious quarterback like Tom Brady seeing No. 23 across from Evans and thinking to himself, Best to look elsewhere.

Lattimore's dominance in coverage against Evans actually spans over the course of his career, as evidenced by this snap-by-snap breakdown by Nick Underhill over at NewOrleans.football. According to Pro Football Focus, over Lattimore's four NFL seasons (eight games vs. Tampa), Evans has just nine catches on 20 targets (45.0 completion percentage) and the two have swapped touchdowns and interceptions, each with one. Those numbers pale in comparison to what Evans has done versus the rest of the league.

Potentially removing Evans from the equation might not matter as much now that Antonio Brown is cooking, but Lattimore's presence -- and his post-snap assignment -- will be one of the more interesting subplots in Sunday's postseason game. As Lattimore reminded us just a couple of months ago on Twitter and with his Week 9 postgame comments -- "It was a disrespectful thing that he did" -- the cornerback's not about to forget that shove to the back when they take the field this time around.

Follow Mike Giardi on Twitter.

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