Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers churned out the most productive day of his career during the Bucs 34-17 win over the 49ers last week, running 26 times for 154 yards.
He might not have had that career day were it not for Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans. He certainly would not have posted the longest run of his career were it not for Evans.
Rodgers’ milestone run came in the second quarter on a first-and-10 play from the Bucs 27-yard line in which Rodgers cut left, then right before running straight up the middle of the field for 45 yards.
Were it not for Evans, Rodgers more than likely would have been stopped for a 13- or 14-yard gain either at or just beyond his own 40-yard line by 49ers safety Antoine Bethea.
Bethea was waiting for Rodgers at the 40 and was moving into position to make a tackle when Evans came up and tied him up just enough to free Rodgers up for the final 31 yards of the gain.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) October 23, 2016
That block, which helped set up the 38-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal that cut the 49ers lead to 14-10, was part of an all-around big day for Evans, too, of course.
Like Rodgers, Evans had one of his best games of the season against the 49ers, catching eight passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He seemed especially pleased, though, with the block he threw for Rodgers.
More than willing to mix it up physically, Evans has always prided himself on his ability to help out in the run game but until last week, he said, he hadn’t done a good job of that.
“Coming off the bye week, I made it an emphasis to be better in the run game,’’ Evans said. “Earlier in the year I hadn’t been as good there as I had been my (first) two seasons.
“But (going into the 49ers game) I made it a point to be better and I sprung one for us because Jacquizz was running hard and got to the second level. Hopefully I can continue to be great in the run game.’’