Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson is closing in on his third straight 1,000-yard season.
That is something that’s never been done in franchise history, as Johnson last season became the team’s first receiver to post back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns.
“It’s continuous work. That’s what I take out of this season,” he said. “You always have to work no matter what it is. With not making the playoffs, but getting to a 1,000, it still shows how much you have to work.”
Johnson’s next catch will give him 70 for three straight seasons. Hall of Fame candidate Andre Reed is the only Buffalo Bill to accomplish that feat. He had four straight seasons of at least 70 catches from 1988 to '91.
“I think that he’s an example of persistence,” Bills coach Chan Gailey said of Johnson. “I think he’s an example of not ever doubting yourself. It would have been easy for him to go into the tank and not believe in himself anymore. When he got the opportunity, we gave him a chance, and he proved he could be a special football player. I’m proud of him for taking advantage of the opportunity he was given and never taking the opportunity to get down on himself or to question his abilities.”
Johnson is coming off his best game of the season, an eight-catch, 115-yard outing against the Seattle Seahawks. That improved his season numbers to 69 catches for 891 yards.
“I think he’s constantly out there trying to prove himself,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said of Johnson, who joined the Bills as a seventh-round draft choice in 2008 out of Kentucky. “When you’re a guy that came into the league unheralded without much expectation – but all of a sudden there is expectation thrown on him every year to continue to produce – it’s been a nice thing to see.”
It wasn’t until Gailey took over in 2010 that Johnson became a prominent figure in the Bills’ passing game.
That explains why the receiver spoke passionately about his coach’s tenuous job status given the Bills’ struggles.
“I don’t want to see him go,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to get too emotional and all that stuff but he gave me the opportunity to play here. I want to do what I can or do my part to ensure that he’ll be here.”
Bills guard Kraig Urbik was happy to sign a four-year contract extension with the team earlier this week.
“I definitely wanted to stay here. It’s a great city and a great team,” he said. “I know that this year is a little disappointing, but I know that we can definitely be a lot better in the coming years, so it’s a good decision to stay.”
Urbik said he allowed himself one day to celebrate the deal, which could pay him up to $15 million, but was ready to get back to work and prepare for the Dolphins.
“It’s great for Kraig and great for the organization,” Gailey said. “He’s done a lot of things here for us and that’s a positive step to try to keep as many of your players, quality players, together as you can.”
Tight end Scott Chandler (foot), guard Andy Levitre (knee), receiver Marcus Easley (hamstring), cornerback Leodis McKelvin (groin) and linebacker Chris White (hamstring) missed practice Wednesday. Gailey said McKelvin had only an “outside chance” of practicing this week, leaving him doubtful for Sunday’s game.
Limited in practice were defensive end Mark Anderson (knee), linebacker Nick Barnett (knee), cornerback Justin Rogers (foot) and center Eric Wood (knee).
Miami receiver Davone Bess did not practice because of a back injury. Also not practicing for the Dolphins on Wednesday were cornerback Nolan Carroll (knee), linebacker Koa Misi (ankle) and defensive tackle Randy Starks (not injury related). Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline was limited because of a back injury.
A scoring change from Sunday’s game credited defensive tackle Alex Carrington with a blocked extra point, the third kick he’s blocked this season.That makes Carrington the first Bills player since Bruce Smith in 1996 to block three kicks in a season.