Is Stevie Johnson the Answer in Buffalo?


Aug 24, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (13) loses control of the ball while being hit by Washington Redskins linebacker Bryan Kehl (53) at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Stevie Johnson broke on to the scene in 2010 when he finished the season with 82 reception 1,073 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. During that off season many fans were talking about how Johnson might be the next big thing in Buffalo. In the seasons to follow, Johnson continued his success. In 2011, he had 76 reception, 1004 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. In 2012, he had 79 receptions, 1046 receiving yards and six touchdowns. However, even with his success over the last three seasons there has been plenty of downside as well.

Fans might remember the Steelers game in 2010 when Stevie dropped the game winning touchdown and then went to twitter and blamed God. You might even remember when he was fined in 2011 for excessive celebration when he acted like he shot himself in the leg to mock Plaxico Burress or when he lifted up his jersey after scoring a touchdown and his undershirt said “Happy New Year.” Both of those times the team was charged with a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sure Johnson is the only receiver in team history to record three consecutive years with 1,000 yards receiving, which is quite impressive when you think about past Buffalo wide receivers. However, his antics and key drops and fumbles take away from all his success.

This season Johnson’s numbers are below average and not what you expect from a #1 wide receiver. The 2013 season has been a roller coaster ride for Johnson. He has played with three different quarterbacks, has been injured and his mother past away. It’s hard to judge a wide receiver when he has played with three different quarterbacks and all three quarterbacks combined had one career start coming into this season let alone having injuries and other issues throughout the season.

However, fans and analyst are starting to question if he is truly the wide receiver Buffalo wants long term. If your a Bills fan you know about the ups and downs of Johnson and might be asking the same thing. Sure his young career has been marked with bad decisions and some bad plays but is it fair that Buffalo continues to change the quarterback on him? Is it fair that Buffalo gives him a rookie wide receiver opposite of him and a rookie quarterback in the same year? Johnson has been asked to be the #1 wide receiver for Buffalo and I truly don’t believe he is a #1 wide receiver. Stevie had his best years when he was a #2 wide receiver and the team didn’t rely on him all the time. He isn’t the go up and get it guy, he is a possession wide out who relies on his uncharacteristic moves to get open.

Johnson may not be the answer as a #1 wide out, but for now he is there best wide receiver and needs some help. He needs EJ Manuel to be better, he needs help from the rookies Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin and he needs Buffalo to bring in another veteran or even a go up and get it type wide receiver. Johnson is a guy who has had his mistakes but he is finally maturing into a leader and loves playing in Buffalo more than any other player on the Bills. He has shown he is dedicated to this team. I believe if Buffalo gives him a little help he will be a solid #2 wide receiver for years to come.