Let’s face it, this Buffalo Bills team was not heading to the playoffs and the loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday did not end their season, so let’s give Stevie Johnson a break for having an off day. Without Johnson’s breakout year this season would be far less bearable to watch, so when he has a bad day like he did on Sunday it’s not the end of the world.
Johnson has quickly become the Bills number one receiver and the most exciting player to watch on offense (sorry Fred Jackson and Lee Evans). He went from virtual anonymity in his first two seasons in the league to having a legitimate shot at making a Pro Bowl this season. Johnson is 12th in the NFL with 59 receptions, 11th in receiving yards with 796 and tied for third with nine touchdown receptions. I’ll admit it would’ve been amazing to see him catch that 10th touchdown pass of the season to take down the juggernaut that is the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime. However, it’s not like he dropped a pass in the end zone that would’ve catapulted the Bills into a playoff position. It would’ve made a 2-8 team, a 3-8 team.
It was amazing to see how much that drop effected Johnson at the podium during the postgame. It was great to see that much emotion from a player on a team that has seemed absolutely emotionless for the better part of a decade. Maybe Stevie J represents the turning of the tide in a Buffalo locker room that seems to have more heart and desire than any Bills team I can remember since the late 1990′s. I’ve said on multiple occasions this season that I would rather watch this 2-9 Bills team that any other Bills team in recent memory. They are exciting, they seem to be in every game to the very end and they are playing perhaps the most difficult schedule in the NFL to boot. Not to get off topic but the Bills opponents that they’ve already played this season have a combined record of 72-49. They have played an unprecendented nine teams with winning records and six division leaders. Those are some eye-popping stats for a team that has really only been completely out of two games this year.
These things need to be put into perspective especially for Steve Johnson. Johnson and the Bills have walked through the gauntlet this season, never put their heads down and have made just about every team they’ve played this season sweat it out til the very end. Johnson has had an incredible breakout year and the sky is the limit for this young receiver. Keep your head up Stevie and don’t let this one rough week derail your bright future.