The Buccaneers had arguably one of the most potent passing games in the league this season. The team’s wide receiving corps played a huge role in that happening. Game after game someone stepped up and imposed their will on the opposing team’s pass defense. We witnessed the emergence of the leagues best wide receiver duos for years to come.
Throughout most of the year, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were both in the top 10 in receiving yards and both finished the year in the top 15. The Buccaneers are the only team that can say they had two players do that.
The Emergence Of A Star
Godwin season got off to a fast start, racking up 120+ yards receiving in 4 of the first 6 games. For most of the season, he seemed to be Jameis Winston’s go-to guy. On big third downs or at crucial points in the game, he knew he could count on Godwin. The guy had freakishly good hands all season, catching just about everything that came his way. In 14 games he recorded 86 catches for 1,333 and 9 touchdowns on his way to being voted to the pro bowl and 2nd team All-Pro honors. If not for the injury that cost him the final 2 games of the year he likely would have made 1st team all and finished #1 in the league in touchdowns and challenged Saints wideout, Michael Thomas for the league lead in reception yards.
Dependable Mike Evans
Mike Evans had another, well, Mike Evans type year. In his 6th year, he tied Hall Of Famer Randy Moss for most consecutive years to begin a career with 1,000 yards receiving. He did so in just 14 games and had 67 receptions and 8 touchdown grabs. Averaging 17.3 per catch. Good enough for 6th in the league. His biggest game of the year was likely week 3 in a 31-32 loss Vs. the Giants. He had 8 catches for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had more targets that day(15) than the next 4 players combined. On the final drive of the game, he had a 44-yard catch to set up a potential 32-yard game-winning field goal. Matt Gay missed the kick and the team lost but it was a game that showed why Evans is one of the best in the business.
The Other Guys
For at least half of the season, the teams passing attack relied heavily upon Evans and Godwin. Not a lot of balls were thrown to anyone else. Breshad Perriman was technically the team’s number 3 receiver on the depth chart but he rarely seemed to get open and when he did, he dropped more passes than you would like. Up until week 9, he only had 3 catches on the year. Behind him was the rookie speedster Scotty Miller and he too only had 3 catches through 9 games. Both didn’t look entirely comfortable out on the field. Maybe it’s just that they needed time to settle into Bruce Arians complex system.
Whatever it was, we saw the guys behind start to make more of an impact in the second half of the season. In Miller’s final 4 games of the season, he caught 10 of his 13 targets and got into the endzone for the first time on his final play of the year. For as poor as Perriman started the year, he ended it on a very high note. He caught at least 5 balls in 4 of the last 5 games, scoring 5 touchdowns in that span and finishing the season with three straight 100+ yard games.
Going into 2020 the Bucs will have much of their receiving corps returning. The only notable wide receiver that will become a free agent this offseason is Perriman. The team will need to decide if they want to resign him, or if someone like Miller is ready to fill that role. Allowing the team to instead use that money to upgrade other positions, or use it toward resigning other pending free agents. We’ll wait and see what the team does but we can all rest easy knowing they will have Evans and Godwin returning. Even if they don’t yet know who will be throwing them the ball.
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