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Posted: Monday, 16 September 2013 1:39PM

Bills' Johnson follows up 'the drop' with 'the catch'



Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550)  -- "I've been chasing that since Pittsburgh," said an exuberant Stevie Johnson, the Buffalo Bills wide receiver that made the game-winning catch during Sunday's victory over Carolina. "I've been chasing that play since Pittsburgh. I'm happy that it happened."

Many fans don't need a refresher to Johnson's reference. Coming off back-to-back wins following an 0-8 start to 2010, the Bills went up against Pittsburgh as the heavy underdogs.

They pushed back, forcing overtime against the Steelers and Johnson was wide open in the end zone with a Ryan Fitzpatrick throw hitting him right in the hands.

Thud. Incomplete. The Bills went on to lose the game 19-16.

It's been an up-and-down season for Johnson even only two weeks into 2013. In the team's season-opener, the wideout dropped a pass on a late fourth quarter third-and-one situation that could have helped the Bills clinch the contest against New England.

He more than made up for it in Week Two, notching the game-winning reception from the arm of EJ Manuel with only two seconds to play.

"Yesterday, I probably thought about a million things within that split second," Johnson said, thinking about the amount of time he had to wait for the lofted throw to plummet down into his mitts. "It was funny because it happened so fast, but I'm thinking about all this stuff. It was weird, but I'm just happy that I made that."

Upon making the reception, Bills center and captain Eric Wood darted over to Johnson and tackled him to the ground in the end zone. After the receiver finally made his way to the sideline, Wood went up to him once more and congratulated him on the play.

"That was big for him. Me and Stevie are good friends, so I was happy for him," the center said. "He'd probably rather have one of those balls where you're running for it as opposed to one where you're sitting there waiting on it -- the whole crowd knowing, 'this is the game.' Just a good play by him."

Despite playing a key role in the team's win over the Panthers, the wideout still hasn't let himself off the hook for the drop against the Patriots. He didn't allow for himself to have any real sigh of relief upon the reception.

"I still think about that too, because we could be 2-0," Johnson remarked. "I feel like if we lose, I didn't do my job. I still think about that. That's not gone. You just gotta get better from here, continue to get better. We've got to continue to grow and build this chemistry so we can be that offense that I know we can be."

Unlike most professional athletes who carry the public narrative of not allowing themselves to live in past mistakes, Johnson actually welcomes it.

"I give it to you real," he said. "Because I give y'all raw emotion. This game, this is really the only game that I have. When I was growing up, I always said 'I just want to be in the NFL,' and that was it. Nothing else. I put everything into it and when I don't do well, it hurts me inside and I feel like I let people down. It's constant work mentally and physically."

Now 1-1, Johnson and the Bills travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey to battle with the New York Jets. The winner will at the very least stay within one game of the lead in the AFC East.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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