Johnson Benched, Bills Blown out in New England

January 1, 2012 Updated Jan 1, 2012 at 6:24 PM EDT

By WKBW Sports


Johnson Benched, Bills Blown out in New England

January 1, 2012 Updated Jan 1, 2012 at 6:24 PM EDT

Foxboro ( It was another ugly loss for the Buffalo Bills, and another disappointing incident involving wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Johnson was benched in the first quarter of the Bills 49-21 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, in what may prove to be his final game as a member of the Bills.

Johnson put the Bills up 14-0 with a 18-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter but was given an 15-yard excessive celebration penalty following the play for lifting his jersey and exposing the words "Happy New Year" on his undershirt. Johnson was benched by Head Coach Chan Gailey following the play, and did not return.

The incident marked the second time this season that Johnson was penalized for his behavior following a TD. Johnson vowed to stop his elaborate touchdown celebrations after he was penalized and fined for mocking Giants WR Plaxico Burress during a game on November 13th. He was told by Gailey if he was penalized again he would be benched, yet he did it again.

Johnson said following the game he didn't know the display would get penalized, but understood he would get benched if he did. "Coach said if I got a penalty then he has to do what he did today. I didn't lose love for him. True to his word and he had to be", said Johnson.
"Ultimately it hurt my teammates. That hurts me the most", said Johnson.

Gailey said following the game he was confused why Johnson wasn't flagged for a similar t-shirt display last year in Cincinnati, but was penalized this time around. Still the head coach believes he made the decision he needed to in benching Johnson.

"I got tired of it the first time it happened. You hoped people learned from situations. You have to learn from your mistakes", said Gailey.
Gailey admitted that after a quick start the absence of Johnson obviously "hurt" his team.

Johnson finished the day with 4 catches for 40 yards and the score. He became the first Bills wide receiver in team history to go over 1,000 yards receiving for a second consecutive year. He is set to become a free agent. Talks on a new contract broke off weeks ago, but Johnson has maintained he wants to return to Buffalo.

The Johnson incident was just part of what turned out to be a brutal day for the Bills. The Bills watched a 21-0 first quarter lead slip away while the Patriots hauled off 49 unanswered points.

Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 20 of 28 passes and threw for 2 scores in the first half, but finished the game 29-of-46 with 4 interceptions in the second half.

Bills tight end Scott Chandler left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Gailey didn't know if surgery would be needed.

The Bills are scheduled to clean out their lockers on Monday.