The Buffalo Bills didn’t have enough firepower to compete with the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome on Sunday, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort by their players. QB Thad Lewis was hit time and again by an attacking Saints defense, but he toughed it out. WR Stevie Johnson took toughness to a whole different level with his performance on Sunday.
Johnson seem to re-aggravate an injury while he was simply going out into a pass pattern from the huddle during the second quarter on Sunday. He had to hobble off of the field and missed four or five plays, but Johnson gritted out the rest of that drive and continued to go in and out of the game. Despite being slowed considerably by the hip injury Stevie continued to play and make plays. He finished the day with seven catches for 72 yards and a TD. The TD in the third quarter was a tough catch that he had to hold onto while being contacted by two defenders. It was as gutsy a performance as I’ve seen on the season.
As the leader of a young receiving corps the example that Johnson set against the Saints was exemplary. The next three receivers on the depth chart, Robert Woods, T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin, are all in their first and second years in the league. Stevie is the clear leader of this group and has shown them that playing through the pain in order to help the team is what winning teams need to do.
Sure the Bills may have lost the game, but the young skill players may have also learned a valuable lesson. You’ve got to keep going in this league because if you don’t the next guy will be waiting to take your job. Grit and toughness are invaluable traits to have in this era of the NFL, and Johnson showed us that he has them in spades with yesterday’s performance.