The Buffalo Bills have a new set of uniforms, a new-look roster, and a new field. Perhaps they’re headed for new results on the field and win column as well. Opening Sunday of the 2011 NFL season certainly had some eye-opening games, one of which was Buffalo’s 41-7 road drubbing of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who caught a touchdown pass, says the result is partly due to Chan Gailey and the coaching staff implementing a whole new program in Buffalo this year. Johnson also stresses that it’s just one game. What do you think: Are you buying the Bills already or are you in wait-and-see mode?
Stevie Johnson joined WGR 550 in Buffalo with Schopp and The Bulldog to discuss if he’d categorize Buffalo’s Week 1 performance as ‘perfect’, what the victory means in the grand scheme of things, if he thinks the Bills are going to be much better than most expected, Chan Gailey redeeming himself with a win over the team that let him go, there being a different feel in the Bills’ locker room, drawing motivation from those hating on the Bills, his touchdown celebration on Sunday and his thoughts on end zone celebrations in general, what he learned from last year, the origin of his name Stevie, and the play that put Chiefs safety Eric Berry out for the year.
Was that kind of the perfect Week 1 game?:
“It definitely was. It was like, ‘Something’s gotta go wrong.’ … But then it didn’t. We just kept on going and kept putting up points. … We just kept fighting. Things were just going right for us. Sometimes you have those type of games. Other weeks, it can go the other way.”
What does that victory mean? Is this team significantly better than most thought?:
“Personally, just being through training camp with the guys, we feel like we’re a better team. … But anything can happen on Sunday. The Chiefs may have had a bad game or a bad day, but at the same time we both went out there competing. … They had chances to put up points, just like we did.”
Were you guys thinking at all about helping coach Chan Gailey beat the team that fired him a couple years ago?:
“It’s always good to go back and beat the team that let you go, but it was not a focus. For the most part, it was basically about the guys who were there last year and how we lost in overtime and then it’s about the guys that’s new on the team who people may have written off. … It’s just a bunch of guys that have to prove themselves.”
Does it feel like a different team?:
“Overall, we feel like the whole team is different. From the jerseys to the field, everything’s different about it. The staff has changed things, like the field, just to show that this is a new team, a new Buffalo Bills.”
Is there motivation in the fact that most outsiders don’t think the Bills will be very good?:
“After you win four games last year and you haven’t seen the playoffs in some time, you can’t get mad at people that say ‘You guys aren’t going to be good.’ … The only people that think you’re going to do good is your families and the guys that are out there practicing every day. … This is a whole new year. … At the same time, we don’t want to be too high because a lot of teams went 1-0. We’ve just got to see how it plays out.”
On his touchdown celebration which involved the fake spiking of the ball:
“That was more like a backup plan. I had something else planned, but things didn’t really go how I thought it would if I would’ve scored a touchdown at the time.”
What did you learn about playing in the NFL last year?:
“Just how things change on a week-to-week basis. You go from having three touchdowns, maybe the best game of your career, to having one of the worst games of your career. It just shows you’ve got to stay on an even keel. … I came off that Cincinnati comeback and I was feeling like, ‘OK, yeah, everything’s good. I’m here in the league and I can just show up.’ Then I was humbled fast. It’s just something to learn from.”
Is it Steve? Stevie? Steven?:
“It’s Steve. My mom calls me Steven when I’m in trouble. And Stevie came from Coach Phillips back at UK. That’s where I got the whole Stevie name and it just stuck with me. … I’m good with Stevie.”
Kansas City’s Eric Berry is out for the year. What happened on that play?:
“You don’t go out there to hurt anybody. We get plays and coaches tell us what to do and we go out and try to execute it. I went out there and did a chop block on Eric Berry, the safety. Let’s say Freddy was to break that run … [Berry] would’ve been the next defender. That would’ve been a good block, we just sprung Freddy for the touchdown. It just so happened to be a bad play and a bad situation. … I definitely don’t want that to happen to anybody.”