Buccaneers WR Mike Evans ruled out of win over Saints early with hamstring injury

Mike Evans attempted to return in the second half, but couldn’t make it work on Sunday in New Orleans

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost wide receiver Mike Evans early Sunday afternoon.

Evans left their 26-9 win over the New Orleans Saints late in the second quarter with a hamstring issue, and started receiving treatment on the sideline. It’s unclear specifically what happened to Evans on the field, but he then left for the locker room at the Caesars Superdome.

Evans attempted to return to the game in the second half, and rode a stationary bike before the third quarter started. Evans, however, was then walked back to the locker room again and was ruled out for the rest of the game officially just minutes into the period.

It’s also unclear how bad Evans’ injury is, or if it will carry over. The Buccaneers have a bye next week and won't return to play until Oct. 15 against the Detroit Lions.

Evans finished the day with 40 receiving yards on three catches. The Buccaneers, after falling into a 3-0 hole early, scored twice in the second quarter to take a 14-3 lead into the break.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) is stopped by New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis (56) and cornerback Alontae Taylor (1) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Mike Evans had three catches for 40 yards before he was ruled out Sunday afternoon. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Evans entered the week with 297 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 17 catches this season. He put up 171 yards and a touchdown on eight catches in their win over the Chicago Bears in Week 2, and Evans has scored a touchdown in each of his first three games this fall. The former Texas A&M standout has recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his nine seasons in the league.

Evans is in the final year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Buccaneers. The 30-year-old and the team attempted to reach a contract extension this offseason, but neither side could agree to one before the season started. He will be a free agent next summer.

While Evans left early, the Buccaneers had little issue getting past the Saints. They held New Orleans to just three field goals and rolled to the 17-point win. Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield went 25-of-32 for 246 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Rachaad White led the team on the ground with 56 yards on 15 carries, and Chris Godwin had 114 receiving yards on eight catches.

The Buccaneers have won three of their four games to start the season, with their only loss coming last week to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Derek Carr went 23-of-37 for 127 yards for the Saints. Alvin Kamara, who returned from a three-game suspension on Sunday after his arrest in Las Vegas last year, had 51 rushing yards on 11 carries in the loss. He had 33 receiving yards on 13 catches, too. The Saints have lost two straight.