Sep 25, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs WR Mike Evans to have MRI on hamstring

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans will have an MRI to determine the severity of a hamstring injury he sustained Sunday in a win over the New Orleans Saints, ESPN reported Tuesday.

It is believed to be a mild hamstring injury, per the report.

In four games this season, Evans has 20 catches for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

The Buccaneers have a Week 5 bye before returning to play on Oct. 15 against the Detroit Lions. Having the week off could bolster Evans’ chance of playing, especially if the injury is mild as believed.

Evans, 30, was the No. 7 overall draft pick in 2014. In his first nine seasons with the Bucs, he has nine straight 1,000-yard seasons — the most ever to start a career. Only Pro Football Hall of Fame member Jerry Rice has more with 11 (1986-96).

Evans is a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) tries to escape the grasp of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (7) during the first quarter at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield guides Bucs past Saints, Derek Carr

Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and the Tampa Bay defense did not allow a touchdown as the visiting Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-9 Sunday afternoon.

Mayfield completed 24 of 31 passes for 246 yards and threw touchdowns of 4 yards to Cade Otton, 1 yard to Trey Palmer and 5 yards to Deven Thompkins.

Saints running back Alvin Kamara made his season debut after serving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and quarterback Derek Carr started despite a sprained AC joint in throwing shoulder sustained a week earlier in a loss at Green Bay.

But the Bucs (3-1) held Kamara to 51 yards on 11 rushes and 33 yards on 13 pass receptions while Carr completed 23 of 37 for 127 yards. New Orleans (2-2) managed just 197 total yards and three field goals by Blake Grupe.

Grupe kicked a 32-yard field goal to pull New Orleans within 14-6 at the end of the third quarter.

Chase McLaughlin’s 51-yard field goal pushed the lead to 17-6 with 13:31 left in the game.

Grupe’s 44-yarder got the Saints within eight points, but Mayfield’s 5-yard touchdown to Thompkins increased the lead to 23-9 with 3:44 left.

After a Carr fumble, McLaughlin kicked a 28-yard field goal to complete the scoring with 2:24 left.

On the first possession of the game Carr passed for 17 yards and Kamara ran for 9 yards, leading to Grupe’s 37-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead that held up through the end of the first quarter.

Mayfield’s touchdown pass to Otton was the fourth third-down conversion in as many tries during a 17-play, 87-yard drive that gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead.

The Saints stopped a scoring threat when Isaac Yiadom intercepted Mayfield at the Saints 1-yard line in the final minute of the first half. But on the next play Antoine Winfield Jr. forced a fumble by Adam Prentice and recovered the ball at the 6.

Two plays later, Mayfield connected with Palmer with 19 seconds left, increasing Tampa Bay’s lead to 14-3 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) and linebacker Quay Walker (7) sack New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) during their football game Sunday, September 24, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Saints 18-17.
Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Saints QB Derek Carr active vs. Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr will be active for their home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Carr was listed as questionable following the AC joint sprain he sustained in last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. He participated in practice on Friday, the same day his coach commented on his availability.

“Can he go out and execute his job?” New Orleans coach Dennis Allen said. “That’s really all this is.”

Multiple media outlets reported that the Saints (2-1) have been preparing for Carr to start, barring any setbacks Sunday. If Carr is unable to go, Jameis Winston will start in his place against the Buccaneers (2-1).

In last Sunday’s 18-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Carr landed hard on his right shoulder when he was sacked by linebacker Rashan Gary on a third-down play with 10:39 left in the third quarter.

Carr completed 13 of 18 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. The Saints led 17-0 when Carr was hurt before Green Bay scored 18 unanswered points.

Winston completed 10 of 16 passes for 101 yards.

The Saints’ listed inactives for Sunday included cornerback Paulson Adebo, safety Jordan Howden, quarterback Jake Luton, tight end Foster Moreau, wide receiver A.T. Perry, defensive end Kyle Phillips and guard Cesar Ruiz.

The Buccaneers listed cornerback Jamel Dean, linebacker SirVocea Dennis, tight end Payne Durham, defensive lineman Calijah Kancey, cornerback Derrek Pitts, tackle Brandon Walton and linebacker Markees Watts as inactive.

–Field Level Media

Aug 11, 2023; Metairie, LA, USA;  New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) looks on during training camp at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

RB Alvin Kamara returns as Saints host Bucs

The New Orleans Saints don’t know if quarterback Derek Carr will be back this week, but they do know that running back Alvin Kamara will make his return when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon.

Kamara will be attempting to spark an offense that is ranked 20th in yards per game (314.7) and 25th in points per game (17.7) even though the team is 2-1.

Carr suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder when he was sacked in an 18-17 loss at Green Bay last Sunday.

“I think we dodged a bullet there in terms of anything of real significance,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said.

Carr did not participate at practice on Wednesday, and Allen said he wasn’t “ruling anything out.”

Kamara will make his season debut after serving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

“I’m fresh,” Kamara said. “I’m real fresh.”

Kamara is the Saints’ top rushing threat and one of the primary receiving weapons for either Carr or Jameis Winston, who replaced Carr after the injury.

“He can help in a lot of ways,” New Orleans wide receiver Chris Olave said about Kamara. “Just how we can use him in many ways. Perimeter runs, between the tackles, check-downs, option routes. All those little things out the backfield. He can help us in so many ways. I’m excited to have him back.”

The Saints led the Packers 17-0 when Carr was hurt in the third quarter and the score was unchanged until the 11-minute mark of the fourth, when Green Bay kicked a field goal to start an 18-0 run. Winston moved New Orleans into field-goal range on its final drive, but rookie Blake Grupe was wide right from 46 yards with 1:05 left.

“Losing a 17-point lead like that is not something that should happen in our league,” Allen said.

Tampa Bay (2-1) was one of the more surprising teams in the NFL during the first two weeks as it defeated Minnesota and Chicago to start the post-Tom Brady era.

But things were much different on Monday night, as the Philadelphia Eagles went into Tampa and beat the Bucs 25-11.

Tampa Bay entered the game ranked second in the NFL run defense, but the Eagles rushed for 201 yards and held the Bucs to 41.

Philadelphia’s success dropped the Buccaneers to No. 12 in run defense, and Tampa Bay ranks 27th in rushing offense, averaging just 78 yards per game.

“You want to be better in the run game,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. “(But) you win a game any way possible right now. If we can win the game throwing the football, I’ll take it. If we can win the game running the football, I’ll take it.”

As bad as the run defense was, Bowles said it didn’t look as bad during film review as he thought it was when the game ended.

“I just thought they killed us, then watching the film, we mis-fit some things and had some self-inflicted wounds,” he said. “I thought they schemed up one of our defenses pretty good and got two runs out of it, which was good on their part.”

Carr was joined on the sideline Wednesday by guard Cesar Ruiz (concussion protocol) and cornerback Paulson Adebo (hamstring).

The Bucs held a walkthrough on Wednesday and estimated that four defensive starters would have missed practice — linebacker Devin White (foot), defensive tackles Vita Vea (pectoral) and Calijah Kancey (calf) and defensive back Jamel Dean (neck/shoulder).

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back D'Andre Swift (0) runs with the ball as Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Christian Izien (29) tackles during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles control clock, top Bucs in battle of unbeaten teams

Jalen Hurts accounted for two touchdowns and D’Andre Swift rushed for 130 yards to help the visiting Philadelphia Eagles cruise to a 25-11 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

Hurts completed 23 of 37 passes for 277 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while also rushing for a score as the Eagles achieved their second straight 3-0 start.

Olamide Zaccheaus had a scoring reception, A.J. Brown had nine catches for 131 yards and Jalen Carter forced two fumbles for Philadelphia.

Baker Mayfield produced 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 15-of-25 passing for the Buccaneers (2-1). Mike Evans had a touchdown catch and Devin White and Dee Delaney recorded interceptions for Tampa Bay.

Reed Blankenship had an interception for the Eagles, who outgained the Buccaneers 472 yards to 174. Philadelphia had a 78-44 edge in offensive plays and controlled the ball for 38:55.

The Eagles moved ahead 10-3 on Hurts’ 34-yard touchdown pass to Zaccheaus with 3:32 left in the first half. Jake Elliott booted a 38-yard field goal as time expired for a 10-point halftime lead.

Philadelphia began the third quarter with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Hurts scoring from the 1 to make it 20-3.

Later in the quarter, Delaney intercepted Hurts at the Buccaneers’ 1-yard line. On the next play, Rachaad White was dropped for a loss in the end zone by Nicholas Morrow for an Eagles safety.

Elliott tacked on a 26-yard field goal to make it 25-3 with 13:28 left in the contest. Tampa Bay found the end zone four-plus minutes later when Mayfield tossed a 1-yard scoring pass to Evans and then threw a two-point conversion to Chris Godwin with 9:22 left.

The Eagles then hogged the ball for 15 plays and 68 yards and racked up five first downs while running out the clock.

Elliott kicked a 36-yard field goal with 3:05 left in the first quarter for the game’s first points. Chase McLaughlin answered with a 33-yard field goal for the Buccaneers to knot the score with 8:33 left in the half.

–Field Level Media

Aug 24, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen (82) returns the opening kick off against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles elevate Olympian Devon Allen to gameday roster vs. Bucs

Two-time Olympian Devon Allen is expected to play in his first NFL regular-season game on Monday night after the Philadelphia Eagles elevated him from their practice squad to the gameday roster.

The Eagles also elevated punter Braden Mann in time for their Week 3 game against the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Instead of pursuing the NFL right out of college, Allen stuck with track and field. In his event of choice, the 110-meter hurdles, Allen is a three-time national champion and represented the U.S. in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

Allen, 28, signed with the Eagles in 2022, six years after the end of his college football career at Oregon. He spent all of last season on the practice squad.

This summer, Allen sustained a calf injury while competing at the USA Track & Field championships in July in Eugene, Ore. He missed much of training camp while on the non-football injury as a result.

Allen is listed as a wide receiver on Philadelphia’s roster online and could be an option to return kickoffs. During a preseason game last month, he returned a kickoff 73 yards. Running back Boston Scott (concussion), the Eagles’ No. 1 kick returner, is unavailable.

The Eagles signed Mann to their practice squad and released punter Arryn Siposs last Monday. Siposs handled punting duties for the Eagles’ first two games. Mann was the New York Jets’ punter from 2020-22.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) in action against the Minnesota Vikings during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

New-look Baker Mayfield, Bucs welcome Eagles

Much has changed for Baker Mayfield since the last time he faced the Philadelphia Eagles.

The resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback takes on the Eagles for the first time in nearly three years on Monday night in a clash of 2-0 teams in Tampa, Fla.

Mayfield was in his third season with the Browns when he directed a 22-17 victory over Philadelphia in Cleveland on Nov. 22, 2020.

Cleveland finished 11-5 and made the playoffs that season, but it was mostly downhill for Mayfield after that until his somewhat surprising success this year as Tom Brady’s successor. He went 6-8 with the Browns in 2021 and 2-8 with the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams last season.

Mayfield threw two touchdown passes in a season-opening win at Minnesota and completed 26 of 34 passes for 317 yards and a score in last Sunday’s 27-17 victory against Chicago. He has not thrown an interception, has been sacked only once and ranks fifth in the NFL in passer rating (104.4).

“He’s been through a lot in five years. He’s been through the ups and downs,” Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said of Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018. “He knows it’s not about him. It’s about the team. He’s being very smart with the football.”

Just a few weeks after Mayfield’s Browns beat the Eagles in 2020, the Jalen Hurts era began in Philadelphia as the then-rookie quarterback replaced Carson Wentz.

Even though Hurts won his first two starts this season and is 19-1 in his last 20 regular-season starts, his numbers are down this year under new offensive coordinator and play-caller Brian Johnson.

Entering Week 3, the Eagles ranked 27th in passing offense. A.J. Brown, who broke the franchise record with 1,496 receiving yards in 2022, has been held to 108 yards on 11 catches.

Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni addressed the concerns before facing a Tampa Bay defense that has collected eight sacks and five takeaways. The Bucs have recorded 19 quarterback hits and limited both the Bears and Vikings to 17 points.

“We’re not in a panic mode or anything like that,” Sirianni said. “Have the pass numbers been down? Yeah. Does the defense play into that? Of course it does. And fortunately for us, we’re able to win on the ground and we’re able to win in the air. You are able to balance off of what the defense does. I thought Brian and the offensive staff did a phenomenal job.”

Sirianni sees the sluggish start for the defending NFC champions as an opportunity.

“It’s way easier to correct when you are 2-0 and no one’s feelings are in it,” Sirianni said. “A lot of teams would like to be sitting 2-0. Like I said, when you are in this position, and guys don’t know that we aren’t playing to the best of our abilities, that’s when you can make a lot of growth.”

The Eagles’ injury report was lengthy on Thursday but only wide receiver Quez Watkins (hamstring), running back Boston Scott (concussion) and safety Terrell Edmunds (illness) didn’t participate in some capacity. That includes cornerback James Bradberry, who missed Week 2 with a concussion.

Defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (calf) didn’t practice for the Bucs.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Chase Edmonds (22) reacts as he gets a first down against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers place RB Chase Edmonds (knee) on IR

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed running back Chase Edmonds on injured reserve Wednesday.

He will miss at least four games after reportedly spraining the MCL in his right knee Sunday against Chicago.

Edmonds, 27, has four rushes for 20 yards in two games and has logged 18 snaps on special teams.

He has 1,816 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 72 career games (18 starts) with four teams.

The Buccaneers promoted defensive lineman Pat O’Connor from the practice squad to replace Edmonds on the active roster.

Tampa Bay also signed defensive tackle Deadrin Senat and offensive lineman Logan Stenberg to the practice squad.

The Buccaneers host the Philadelphia Eagles in a clash of 2-0 teams on Monday night.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to pass during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield, Bucs seek strong start vs. Bears

Quarterback Baker Mayfield carries the “mentality of an offensive lineman,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields, meanwhile, admits he “was a little bit too conservative at times” during last week’s season opener.

The two signal-callers with different Week 1 results but a shared sense of something to prove will square off Sunday as the Buccaneers (1-0) host the Bears (0-1).

A full participant in Wednesday’s practice, Mayfield nonetheless was listed on the team’s first injury report of the week with an ailment to his right (throwing) shoulder.

Mayfield stumbled out of the gate in his team debut at Minnesota, completing just 3 of his first 11 passes. But he recovered to finish 21 of 34, highlighted by a 28-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans late in the second quarter.

Mayfield hit Trey Palmer for a go-ahead touchdown pass late in the third quarter, and Chase McLaughlin’s 57-yard field goal with 5:10 remaining provided the final margin in a 20-17 victory versus the Vikings.

Successfully reading Minnesota’s defensive signals provided a boost, Mayfield said. It wasn’t the sole reason for his turnaround, but he said it helped “quite a bit.”

“When it comes down to that, you’re always trying to find tendencies of the defense,” Mayfield added. “Just those in-game adjustments, you’re trying to find those tendencies and sometimes it’s a little different than others. … It took us a little bit to adjust but you try to find every advantage possible.”

Chicago is coming off a 38-20 home loss to Green Bay last Sunday. After anticipating a possible changing of the guard against their longtime rival after a busy offseason – plus the Packers’ trade of quarter Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets — the Bears instead lost their 11th straight game dating to last season.

Fields finished 24-of-37 passing for 216 yards with one touchdown and an interception while rushing for 59 yards. The team also didn’t seem to get a firmer grasp on his development as a passer. Fields completed just two passes for 25 yards to receiver DJ Moore, whom Chicago acquired from the Carolina Panthers in a deal for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Chase Claypool, an in-season acquisition in 2022, was targeted twice but had zero catches. Darnell Mooney was Chicago’s leading receiver with four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Fields knows he must be more aggressive downfield for the offense to succeed.

“Definitely with guys like DJ and Chase on the outside, if we do have one-on-one on the outside, potentially throwing it up and seeing what happens,” he said. “With them, they’re great playmakers and they can most likely come up with a 50-50 ball. Definitely want to give them more chances deep down the field.”

Tampa Bay and Chicago last met on Oct. 24, 2021, with the Bucs cruising to a 38-3 victory.

Khalil Herbert, then a rookie, provided a bright spot with 100 yards on 18 carries, but the defense didn’t register a sack of then-Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. Evans caught three of Brady’s four touchdown passes on the day.

Chicago’s Kyler Gordon (hand) did not participate in practice on Wednesday, while fellow defensive back Josh Blackwell (hamstring) and linebacker Dylan Cole (hamstring) were limited.

Buccaneers defensive backs Carlton Davis (toe) and Christian Izlen (concussion) as well as defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (calf) did not practice on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Detailed view of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-NFL WR Mike Williams dies at 36

Former NFL wide receiver Mike Williams died Tuesday morning in Tampa, Fla., from injuries sustained in a construction accident, NFL Network reported. He was 36.

His agent, Hadley Engelhard of EnterSports Management, confirmed his death to the network.

“He will be missed. He fought hard his whole life. Prayers to his family,” Engelhard said.

Earlier media reports last week said Williams had died, but they were erroneous. Instead, he was on life support and in the intensive-care unit.

Williams was taken off life support on Thursday and had been breathing on his own, per the Tampa Bay Times. He was partially paralyzed in the accident in Hillsborough County, Fla.

Williams was a Buffalo native who played nearby at Syracuse University.

He burst onto the scene in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, catching 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. His touchdown-reception total set the single-season club mark at the time for any player, and he wound up second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.

Williams finished his career with 223 catches for 3,089 yards and 26 touchdowns in 63 games (52 starts) across four years with Tampa Bay and one with the Buffalo Bills.

–Field Level Media