December 24, 2011
NFL players are a bit like luxury cars. Some of them -- the Ray Lewis model -- can perform a high level for more than a decade, and even when they start to slow down, it's a gradual decline. They lose a little speed, a little power, but they're still reliable. They just can't wow you like the used to. Other models just conk out, virtually out of the blue, and if you don't sell them before it happens, you're stuck with a lemon.
It really looked like the Ravens practically stole Evans from the Bills for a fourth-round pick in the preseason. Buffalo players were furious when the trade was announced, taking to Twitter to question whether their team was even trying to win. And Evans looked good in the preseason, opening up the field for Joe Flacco and frequently getting separation from his defender. The Ravens didn't want to give up a second-round pick for someone like Malcom Floyd or Vincent Jackson, and it seemed like they had found an excellent solution to that problem.
But at some point, Evans' odometer crossed an invisible barrier, and now it looks like the Bills robbed the Ravens. Cameron and Flacco were clearly trying to get Evans involved Saturday -- he was targeted four times -- but it's just not happening. Evans injury obviously played a role. There is really no way the Ravens could have seen that coming. But he's been such a nonfactor, you almost have to wonder whether Buffalo had concerns about his attitude and decided to move him before it became obvious he was nearing his expiration date. In his post-game news conference, Harbaugh made a subtle allusion that he wasn't exactly thrilled with the Evans' effort to break up the pass in the end zone that was intercepted by Sheldon Brown.
"Obviously, today, we had some chances, but we didnt make the best of them, for whatever reason," Evans said. "Im going to put it on my shoulders and say that its me. And until I can correct that, theres not much else I can say."