TAMPA, Fla. — The Bucs had just lost the lead to the Carolina Panthers, the worst team in the NFL, and the season was about to disappear with it.
Then receiver Mike Evans put on a cape, and Superman flew into the end zone.
After catching a pass on a post route from Baker Mayfield, Evans turned it into a 75-yard touchdown reception, going airborne the final 4 yards and extending the football over the pylon in the Bucs’ 21-18 win over the Panthers.
One play earlier, the Panthers (1-11) had taken a 10-7 lead on Chuba Hubbard’s 1-yard touchdown run.
But then Evans scored his 10th TD of the season with 5:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Evans led the Bucs with seven catches for 162 yards and the TD. He added to his Hall of Fame-worthy career by eclipsing the 1,000-yard receiving mark for an NFL-record 10th straight year to start his career with an 11-yard reception with under five minutes remaining in the game.
The victory improved the Bucs to 5-7, just one game behind the first-place Falcons (6-6) heading into Sunday’s critical game at Atlanta.
The Bucs extended their lead to 21-10 when receiver Chris Godwin scored his second TD of the season on a 19-yard run around right end.
But Hubbard scored again on a 1-yard run with 5:02 remaining to make it 21-16. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was called for a facemask on a failed 2-point try. On the next play, rookie quarterback Bryce Young ran it in from the 1-yard line to make it 21-18.
The Panthers had one more chance, but Antoine Winfield Jr. intercepted a pass from Young with 2:14 remaining.
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