November 27, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Buffalo Bills shot themselves in the foot on Sunday afternoon, just moments after Stevie Johnson(notes) mocked shooting himself in the leg. The Johnson celebration crashed and burned in the Bills 28-24 loss to the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium.
Immediately after connecting on a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) that put the Bills up 14-7 with 2:09 left in the second quarter, Johnson began dancing and then mock shot himself in the leg. The celebration, an obvious rip on Plaxico Burress' arrest three years ago after accidentally shooting himself in the leg outside a New York City nightclub, then went further as Johnson ran through the end zone with his arms extended, knocking on the Jets "Flight Boys" touchdown celebration.
Johnson then fell to the ground, crashing his plane, perhaps not a prudent move just miles away from the site of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th. The celebration drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty tacked onto the kickoff and, following a failed squibbed kick, the Jets got possession at their own 36-yard line. The smoke didn't even clear when four plays later, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez(notes) found Burress for a 14 yard touchdown to level the score.
Talk about a self-inflicted wound.
"Most definitely, it hurt our team. It was very stupid of me going through that and I feel like I cost our team the win by doing that. It was a bad decision," Johnson said. "It's irrelevant whether or not I rehearsed it or not. At the end of the day, it cost our team seven points. I have to apologize to everyone and talk to coach. I can't be doing that; I need to be more mature about the situation."
Burress said after the game that "I'm not laughing" at what happened but he said he wasn't aware of the play at all till after the game. None of the other Jets, including head coach Rex Ryan, said that they knew about the celebration.
"It doesn't bother me; I've already been through the ringer with that situation. I dealt with it accordingly, I've put those things behind me," Burress said. "It doesn't bother me at all, he's a young player I like him a lot and I think he's a great young talent and will be a great player in this league. He's young and maybe he'll understand one day later but for now, we won the game."
Matched up against arguably the best cornerback in the league in Darrelle Revis(notes) for much of the game, Johnson did put in a stellar performance, with eight catches for 75 yards. But after a Santonio Holmes(notes) touchdown catch put the Jets up 28-24 in the fourth quarter, Johnson had a chance to make a big-play late in the game in the Bills two-minute offense. On a slant, he was wide-open and let a pass from Fitzpatrick somehow go through his fingertips.
After his showing of hubris earlier in the game, it was a bit of irony and Johnson said the play "could have been a touchdown." Burress remained diplomatic about the incident after the game, even after he seemed to take a subtle shot at Johnson.
"I've seen worse and I've heard worse. It doesn't bother me at all. The result I'm looking at is that we won the football game," Burress said. "He turned around and dropped three wide-open balls to lose the game for his team. If I was a player, that's how I'd evaluate myself. He's doing his thing, I'm doing mine."
Kristian R. Dyer contributes to the Shutdown Corner Blog and can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer
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