“He’s taking it hard. It’s hard for him,” said fellow wide receiver Lee Evans. “I talked with him for a bit and he understands what’s going on. Obviously, you’ve still got to process it internally, but the biggest thing I told him in getting over it and how to get over it is coming through the work week and when you get back out here on Wednesday not to dwell on it.”
“I think he knows that and I think he will do it come Wednesday. But right now it’s tough.”
Johnson dropped five passes in Sunday’s 19-16 loss, including one that would’ve been a game-winning, 40-yard touchdown pass in the extra period if it had not inexplicably slithered through his hands.
Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham made a 41-yard field goal on the next drive, sending the Bills to their third overtime loss this season.
Johnson also dropped another pass in the endzone just before that two-minute warning that tipped off his fingers and fell into the hands of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.
After the game, Johnson said he’d “never” get over the overtime drop.
Head coach Chan Gailey, however, already has. He said that the Bills will still target Johnson, who leads the team with 796 yards and 9 TDs, often in future games.
“We’re not going to stop throwing it to him,” Gailey said, “I can promise you that.”
Johnson, a seventh round pick in 2008, is only two TDs away from tying the Bills franchise record for touchdowns in a single season. He has already chocked up three weeks with 125+ receiving yards and 5 TDs in his last six games.
“I have his back,” the coach added. “He is a good player. He’s got a chance to be a really good player. He’ll be just fine.”
Quarterback Ryan Fitzparick, who feel to his knees in disbelief following Johnson’s key drop, said he actually thinks targeting Johnson more will help him get past this weekend’s struggles.
“[We got to] just keep throwing him the ball,” Fitzpatrick said, “I think the best way to get somebody’s spirits up is to continue to give them a chance to make plays. I have 100-percent confidence in him. I think everybody else on this team has 100- percent confidence in him.”
Fitzpatrick said he reminded Johnson that no one in the NFL is immune from mistakes from time to time.
“It’s happened to all of us,” the fifth-year pro said. “I’ve thrown plenty of bad interceptions at the end of the game and didn’t make plays that I thought I should have. So, it happens to all of us. You just have to move on. It’s part of the game and you just have to know that everybody has your back in the locker room.”