MIAMI, Fla. – Stevie Johnson was seething Sunday.
The Buffalo Bills receiver was angry with the officials, angry with the result and – most of all – angry with himself after the Miami Dolphins beat the Bills, 24-10, in Sun Life Stadium.
Johnson had a day to forget. He fumbled. He dropped passes. He failed to secure what should’ve been a touchdown, losing the ball after crossing the goal line and leaving the call open to interpretation.
He had one reception (which he coughed up) entering the fourth quarter and finished with four catches for 44 yards.
“I’m real upset about this game,” Johnson said. “Most of the big plays, I was involved in. I didn’t make them.
“Me being the competitor I am, I feel it’s all on me.”
Johnson was so sullen that running back Tashard Choice felt compelled to give him a pep talk in the locker room. As they stood in their street clothes, Choice implored Johnson to be an example for his teammates.
Johnson, in a teal ball cap with a dead Dolphin floating upside down, nodded.
“He takes it so personally because he loves to win, loves to compete,” Choice said. “With the season we’ve had, great players take it on themselves, and it shows in his frustration at times.
“With him being a leader on this team, he has to sometimes keep himself cool for the betterment of the team. He can drop 10 balls, but he still has to be uplifting because other guys look to him.”
Johnson already had been charged with a questionable fumble when his would-be touchdown was wiped away by side judge Jeff Lamberth’s incompletion call in the second quarter.
Johnson made what appeared to be a slick 23-yard touchdown catch along the right sideline. He took two steps and lurched forward, crossing the goal line with the ball in his hands. But he lost the ball when he hit the ground.
Johnson went bonkers when Lamberth signaled incomplete.
“If that’s the case, the … fumble shouldn’t have been a fumble,” Johnson said. “That’s what I was frustrated about. I held onto it longer than the fumble. If I didn’t have possession of the touchdown, then I didn’t have possession before the fumble.”
Asked whether coach Chan Gailey should have challenged the play, Johnson shrugged and said he should have caught the ball cleanly to erase any doubt.
Referee Walt Anderson explained Lamberth’s call was correct because a receiver going to the ground must complete the catch.
The confusion comes from the definition of “going to the ground” because Johnson took two steps before diving.
“We thought it was” a touchdown, Bills running back C.J. Spiller said. “But the ref made the call that he made. ... We definitely thought that he scored on that one.”
Said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick: “I thought he grabbed it, took a couple steps and then I guess when he went down and it popped out. But I don’t know. That’s all I saw.”
Johnson’s day started poorly. He fumbled on his first reception of the game, his 70th of the season to join Andre Reed as the only Bills to notch at least that many in three straight seasons.
Johnson still needs 65 yards to reach 1,000 for the third season in a row. Last year, he became the first Bills receiver to have consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
“I’m counted on to be one of the playmakers of this team, of this offense,” Johnson said. “Our defense stepped up and played very good, and I was nowhere to be found in the first half.
“Those are plays that I make. Those are plays I’ve made the entire season. Today, I didn’t. The frustration on the field, I was mad. It was the heat of the moment, but at the end of the day it’s on me to make those plays. That’s what I’m here for.”
Bills tight end Scott Chandler was carted off with a knee injury in the first quarter and H-back Dorin Dickerson in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
“Scott doesn’t look good at all,” Gailey said.
Chandler is Buffalo’s second-leading receiver with 43 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns.
Gailey didn’t have a report on Dickerson, who exited the locker room under his own power.
Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy left the game with a groin injury in the second quarter. An update on his status was unavailable.
Bills defensive tackle Alex Carrington blocked another kick. He has deflected four field goals or extra points this year, the most by a Bills player since at least 1988, when complete block records were first compiled.
Carrington’s right forearm diverted Nate Kaeding’s 45-yard field-goal attempt in the first quarter.
“Bruce DeHaven, our special teams coach, tells us all the time, ‘I can’t guarantee that you’ll block a kick. But I can guarantee you will not block it if you don’t try,’ ” Carrington said. “So I just go hard every time, try to get my hand up and hope he’ll kick a low ball or get penetration.”
Carrington also deflected Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely’s 38-yard attempt as regulation time expired in Week Six. The game went into sudden death, where the Bills won.
Carrington blocked Houston Texans kicker Shayne Graham’s 46-yard attempt in Week Nine and an extra point try from Seattle Seahawks kicker Matt Hauschka last week in Toronto.
Bills linebacker Kirk Morrison got into his first game this year. The former Oakland Raiders captain had been inactive all 12 games before the Bills released him Dec. 3. The Bills re-signed Morrison last week after linebacker Arthur Moats was placed on injured reserve.
Linebacker Greg Lloyd Jr., promoted from the practice squad last week, made his NFL debut.
Rookie wide receiver Chris Hogan also was added from the practice squad and dressed for his first NFL game, but he wasn’t sent onto the field against the team with which he spent training camp.