Serious downturn for Bills' Johnson
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Why so serious?
Steve Johnson wasn't much in a Joker mood after his would-be game-winning touchdown catch in overtime fell to the Ralph Wilson Stadium turf Sunday.
The Buffalo Bills receiver outdid the self-proclaimed Batman and Robin of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens last week in Cincinnati, catching three touchdown passes. During that game, he revealed a T-shirt under his jersey that had "Why so serious" scribbled on it, a gesture that earned him a $5,000 fine from the NFL.
After the Steelers beat Buffalo, 19-16, yesterday, the Joker was in tears.
"How would you feel?" he said. "You go through that whole game knowing you've got a big team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, and you've got this kid coming up in the NFL making plays. And, all of a sudden, when the biggest plays need to be made, you don't make it. I am devastated."
Johnson leads the Bills in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Until yesterday, he led the team in dependability, too.
Johnson not only dropped the winner in overtime, he dropped four other passes and had another few opportunities that could've been deemed drops. He was targeted 15 times by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick; he still caught a team-high seven passes for 68 yards.
"In this business, there are two types of people -- the humble and the humbled," coach Chan Gailey said. "If you are not in that first group, you will be in the second group some point in time."
With the score knotted at 16 five minutes into overtime and the ball at the Steelers' 40-yard line, Fitzpatrick faked a handoff to Fred Jackson, turned and fired the ball into the end zone to a wide-open Johnson, who had beaten safety Ryan Clark and cornerback Ike Taylor.
"It was a good play call and a good route, and he killed the corner on the route," Fitzpatrick said. "We just didn't finish it."
The Bills ran two more plays before punting, but they never got the ball back. The Steelers used 13 plays to set up Shaun Suisham's winning field goal from 41 yards, sending Johnson into a rage that led him to blame God on Twitter: "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??• HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..."
"He was obviously emotional," receiver Lee Evans said. "It was a tough place to be in. I let him know that we are here, and we still support him. He has made a ton of plays for us, and you can't discount that."
Johnson will hold on to this one for a while.
"Me, I will never get over it," he said. "I will never get over it. Ever."
Steelers vs. Bills 11⁄28/10
The Steelers defeat the Buffalo Bills, 19-16 in overtime, Sunday November 28, 2010 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY.
Around the Bills
• In Sunday's 19-16, overtime loss to the Steelers, Buffalo had 51 yards in the first half and 278 after that. But, according to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, there were no adjustments made at halftime. Simply put, the Bills finally had the ball in the second half, allowing them to gain yardage. Buffalo ran 15 plays in the first half -- and 49 in the final two quarters and overtime. 'We didn't change one thing,' Fitzpatrick said. 'That first half was so hard because ... they had some long drives where we just didn't have the ball. It is hard to get stuff going when you don't have the ball.'
• The Bills felt they had the game won on the opening kickoff of overtime when Leodis McKelvin returned the ball to the Steelers' 48-yard line. But McKelvin and teammate Arthur Moats collided, forcing McKelvin to the ground. 'That lane was open all game,' McKelvin said. 'It was perfect timing, the lane was open and I took my chance. I should've gone the distance.' Instead, McKelvin tripped over Moats' foot. 'That's just bad luck of the draw,' McKelvin said.
• The Bills' past four losses have been by three points, with three of them coming in overtime. 'If we want to be the team that we think we are and we want to get where we think we can be, this is a game that we have to win,' Fitzpatrick said. 'We aren't there yet, and this shows that we aren't there yet.'
• Defensive end Dwan Edwards left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return. Coach Chan Gailey called the injury 'not good,' adding that he expects to be without Edwards for a while.
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