The New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the bad blood boiling too hot in Week 2, resulting in a brawl. Now Mike Evans is facing the music.
Things certainly got ugly between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Week 2, as they have on several occasions between the two NFC South rivals, but rarely if ever to the extent that they did on Sunday in the Big Easy.
Early in the fourth quarter, a Bucs drive ended with a Tom Brady incomplete pass but the quarterback and Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette were jawing with Marshon Lattimore. When the New Orleans cornerback took a step toward the quarterback, though, Fournette shoved Lattimore, who then delivered a high-shove back to Fournette’s helmet.
That caught the attention of Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans — who has a beef-ridden history with Lattimore — to come charging off of the sidelines and deliver a huge cheap shot to the defensive back. Then absolute chaos erupted.
Both Evans and Lattimore were ejected from the game, but the question was if there would be any other punishments being handed down. For the Bucs wide receiver, the answer is yes.
Mike Evans suspended 1 game for role in Bucs-Saints brawl: No other players suspended
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Monday that Evans will be suspended one game for his involvement in the brawl and his history of similar behavior, most notably a 2017 incident in which he also delivered a similar hit after the play on Lattimore.
Buccaneers fans will certainly decry that Evans was the only one suspended for being involved in the brawl but let’s just look at the facts in this situation.
While Lattimore might be a verbal instigator on the field, he was just trash talking when Fournette was the first one to make physical contact, to which he responded. Then, Evans, who was not involved at all at the time, came off the sidelines to deliver the biggest hit of the events that followed to a blindsided Saints player. Moreover, this isn’t the first time he’s done something of that ilk.
So while it does indeed put the Bucs in a tough spot, this feels like the right call for this situation when you zoom out a bit. We’ll certainly see some fines for many other players as the league continues to review the fight, but Evans is out for one game and we can move on from this — at least until these two teams meet in Tampa for Week 13 on Dec. 5.