EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Stevie Johnson said it didn't bring back memories of the Pittsburgh loss a year ago in Buffalo. But almost a year to the day (it was last Nov. 28) after he dropped a certain touchdown pass in overtime against the Steelers, the Bills' top wide receiver found himself in front of the media Sunday afternoon, taking the blame for a devastating loss.
Johnson dropped a potential TD pass at the Jets' 20-yard line with 35 seconds left in a 28-24 loss at MetLife Stadium. Late in the first half, he had been penalized for excessive celebration after a 5-yard touchdown catch. The Bills botched a squib kick from their 20 after the call, allowing the Jets to score a quick TD to tie the score at 14-14 just before halftime.
The celebration involved Johnson pretending to shoot himself in the thigh -- an attempt to have fun at the expense of the Jets' Plaxico Burress, who served time in prison for shooting himself in a New York nightclub.
Johnson stood at his locker after the loss, with about two dozen cameramen and reporters crowded around him, and answered questions:
Do you regret the celebration and mocking out Plaxico?
"Yeah, most definitely," he said, "cause it hurt our team. I felt like I cost our team a win on that."
Was it rehearsed?
"It was just a bad decision."
I know it was a bad decision, but was it rehearsed?
"It was a bad decision, and it hurt our team. If it was rehearsed or not doesn't really matter. That's irrelevant."
Do you have something personal with Burress?
"No, not at all. It was just a bad decision I made and it cost our team seven points, basically. At the end of the day, it cost our team seven points and ...I'm going to have to apologize to everybody, talk to Coach. I can't be doing that. I got to be more mature about the situations."
Do you think it motivated the Jets?
"I don't think anybody needed motivation. We're all in the NFL. We're all professionals."
Did it bring back bad memorees of the Pittsburgh game?
"No, not at all. Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh. It's a whole new year. We're deep in the season. Ain't nobody worried about that right now."
Is it frustrating, having a good game against Revis and having to field questions about other things?
"Yeah. We lost, so this comes with it. If we won, I don't think it'd be the same situation. but we took the L and this is what you've got to go through."
What happened on the drop?
"My reactions were slow. It was there. I didn't react fast enough and, you know, I think it could have been a touchdown. It's tough. It's tough, because we battled. All the guys fought hard. The defense played like dogs. The offense played like dogs. I didn't make a play again."
Fitz moved you inside on that play, right? He said you don't practice it much.
"Yeah. We just drew it up in the huddle. It was there, and I just didn't make the play. Reaction was off."
You see Plaxico's one-handed catch?
"Yeah, of course. I'm watching the game, too. It was a good catch. He's a pro. He's been doing this. He's made catches like that in the Super Bowl. It doesn't surprise me. What was the point of that question?"
Would you approach Burress to apologize? You said the celebration was a mistake
"I said it was a mistake for our team. That's it. Anything else, it doesn't matter to me. All I'm worried about is the Buffalo Bills and my teammates. I don't worry about what's going on over there. That led to a touchdown for the Jets and it hurt us. I put that on me."
Chan says he has to talk to you about your decision-making. Does it frustrate you to be at that point at this stage of your career?
"We're human. You got to learn. When you stop learning, what's the point of living? I'm always learning from Coach, whether it be decision-making, blocking, running a hitch route. I have my ear to him all the time. That's my coach. I'm not going to take that in a negative way."
Was the celebration like a joke?
"No. Just having fun. That's it. Just having fun (laughs). It ended up being a penalty and a touchdown for the Jets. They got to 14,tied it up and we should have been up seven. But a stupid decision by me led to a win for the Jets and that's how I see it."
Do you worry about the team not being willing to invest in you as a franchise guy after a day like this?
"Am I worried about that? I'm not worried about that. I'm not even thinking about a contract, you feel me? I signed for four years, so I'm playing my four years out. I'm not thinking of signing an extension now or trying to get paid, you feel me? I'm trying to win games for the Bills. I'm not thinking about that."
Think you'll get fined?
"If I do, I do. If I don't, I don't. That doesn't matter to me. I'm just trying to win the game, and it didn't happen today. That's what I'm mad about. I'm not worried about a fine or anyhing else."
--- Jerry Sullivan