After putting up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, including 86 catches for 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior for the 11-win Gophers, Tyler Johnson was a fifth-round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2020 NFL draft.

It felt, frankly, too low for someone with good size (6-2) who had been so productive in a major conference. And on Thursday, Johnson made the most of his first big chance to show off his skills on an NFL field.

Johnson, who was slowed both by a strange offseason and a training camp injury, didn’t get on the field the first two weeks of the season and wasn’t targeted while making his Week 3 debut.

But with the Bucs dealing with major injuries at wide receiver in their Thursday night game with the Bears, Johnson played a major role — and delivered, albeit in a 20-19 loss.

Johnson caught the first four passes of his NFL career, good for a team-high 61 yards. He made his first grab on Tampa Bay’s first drive by finding a soft spot in a zone for 17 yards — delivered, of course, by Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady, who moved to the Bucs from the Patriots in the offseason — to help set up a field goal. You can watch his full highlight reel from the game below.

The most impressive was a 35-yard catch-and-run in the first half during which he absorbed a hit from two Bears defenders over the middle, stayed on his feet, broke another tackle and moved all the way inside the Chicago 10 yard line to set up a touchdown.

He wasn’t targeted on Tampa Bay’s final failed drive, when the Bucs turned the ball over on downs to fall by one point. But it was still an impressive game for former Minneapolis North and Gophers standout.

“I was just going out there and playing football, man,” Johnson told reporters after the game. “I give a lot of credit to the guys in the room because they have been taking me under their wing since I got here.”

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