To 99% of people the first thing that pops into their heads when hearing that phrase is The Joker. But to Bills fans everywhere, we get a smile on our faces thinking of Steve Johnson lifting his shirt to reveal the statement after catching his first of three touchdown passes in the amazing come-from-behind victory against the Bungles, the perfect response to the overzealous pair of Cincinnati’s own Batman and Robin.
6 foot 2 inches, 210 pounds, and runs the 40 yard dash in 4.59 seconds; what’s not to like? Throw in a 1,000 yard, 13 TD senior season that included 3 game winning touchdown catches and a selection to the All-SEC first team and there’s no wonder why Bills fans were so giddy when he was selected with the 224th overall pick.
Entering his third season with only 12 receptions, 112 yards and 2 touchdowns (stats that would be great for a single game), the message boards were lit up constantly with praise of Steve Johnson and the potential he had to be the game changing #2 receiver that had been lacking since Eric Moulds and Peerless Price each had 1,000 yard seasons back in 2002. After James Hardy’s unceremonious departure prior to season’s start, the path was cleared for Johnson to take the reins of Buffalo’s offense and to become Fitz’s partner in crime.
After a shaky start with Trent Edwards at the helm, Johnson really blew up in the Week 7 loss to the Ravens, catching a then-career high 8 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. In the Week 11 victory over the Bengals, Johnson caught 8 passes for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns on his way to the front page of all the sports websites for his fineable wardrobe malfunction. The week that followed led to appearances all over ESPN talk shows and radio stations, the likes of which we hadn’t seen since Trent Edwards led the 2006 team to a 4-0 start.
Maybe it was a lapse in concentration, or the distraction of all the attention, but we all know what happened against the Steelers the following week. I need not repeat what Brad posted in his Failure Chronicles. Following the loss, we were met by the opposite side of the media spectrum when Johnson tweeted his frustrations and feelings that God had let him down. The same ESPN talk shows, radio stations, and even the ladies on The View shot Johnson back down to earth faster than his meteoric rise the previous week.
When the final whistle blew, Johnson finished the season as the Buffalo Bills’ number 1 receiver, catching 82 balls for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named the 2010 Vizio Top Value Performer for being the NFL player who outplayed his salary by the widest margin (http://topvalueperformer.com), which I’m sure will be brought to the attention of Buddy Nix come contract negotiation time.
Thinking back over the 2010 season, I’d say Steve Johnson hauling in TD passes is one of my favorite memories. For 5 weeks in a row we got to see the chemistry Ryan Fitzpatrick was building with his young receiver, something we hadn’t seen since J.P. Losman and Lee Evans were a force to be reckoned with. We can only hope that Johnson and Fitz build on that chemistry in the upcoming 2011 season.