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In Stevie Johnson's creative mind, Rian Lindell is too hurt to kick

By Tim Graham

Rian Lindell might want to poke around Stevie Johnson's locker for a voodoo doll.

Johnson wants to get rid of the Buffalo Bills kicker -- in a psychological sense, at least.

Johnson is so tired of not scoring touchdowns in the red zone, he's tinkering with Jedi mind tricks.

"We've got to be able to put the pressure on ourselves," Johnson said. "Maybe we're a little too comfortable, knowing that we have a good kicker in Lindell to put three points on the board.

"We've got to act as if our kicker's injured, and we have to score touchdowns."

The Bills have failed to score an offensive touchdown in two of their past three games and have scored one or fewer in three of their past six games.

The Bills are tied for 23rd in red-zone efficiency this season. That meager stat has been buoyed by their hot start.

They've scored only four touchdowns on their past 14 trips inside the red zone. They have kicked seven field goals, missed one field goal, fumbled once and thrown an interception.

Lindell laughed about Johnson's mental approach to scoring touchdowns but expressed mixed emotions about kicking fewer field goals.

"It's kind of funny, but they'll get a first down and I'll get a little disappointed," Lindell said. "You want to go out there. 'All right. Field goal. It's coming up.' And then they get first and 10 and it's, 'OK. ... Good job.' It takes me a second.

"It's all part of the deal. If they need me, I'm here. Whatever."

Lindell has made 93 percent of his kicks this season. He has made all three of his tries from at least 40 yards but hasn't tried one from 50-plus yet.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |