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Johnson hits 1,000

Posted Dec 27, 2010

Steve Johnson needed 57 yards Sunday to achieve his first 1,000-yard receiving season as a pro. He got 58.

Johnson broke the millennium mark on a 14-yard reception from Ryan Fitzpatrick early in the fourth quarter. The third-year receiver finished with five receptions for 58 yards in the Bills’ 34-3 loss to New England, becoming the ninth different player in team history to record a 1,000-yard season.

His total is the 17th 1,000-yard receiving season in team history, and the first since Lee Evans’ 1,017-yard season in 2008.

Johnson said it’s nice to be able to reflect on a great individual year, but said he understands team success is the big picture.

“Any receiver would love to have 1,000,” he said. “But that’s all individual. We all know this is a team game (and) we couldn’t do it without (everybody) else; without the line, the running backs, without the defense getting the ball.”

With 77 receptions for 1,001 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, Johnson figures to be in the running for one of four receiver slots on the AFC Pro Bowl team; being tied for fourth in receptions, ranking sixth in yards, and tied for second in touchdowns in the conference prior to Sunday.

But following his notorious dropped touchdown in overtime against Pittsburgh Nov. 28, Johnson said he isn’t as optimistic about his Pro Bowl hopes as he was a month ago.

“I don’t think it will happen just because there (are) a lot of guys in the AFC that (have) put up a lot of yards, and I feel like the Pittsburgh game set me back all the way,” he said.

Even if he isn’t among the top four choices, Johnson could be an alternate and eventually play in the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

As a player who had just 12 career receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns prior to this season, Johnson said he’s happy just to be getting consideration.

“You go from (being) a seventh-round pick – nobody really knows who you are – to booming on the scene and (perhaps) going to the Pro Bowl,” Johnson said. “That would be great.”

Johnson reiterated he’ll never get over his infamous drop against Pittsburgh, but said he has moved on and continues to use that burden –as well as the team’s lack of success in the win column – as learning tools.

“As a competitor, how could you completely forget about that?” Johnson asked about his drop. “It’s great motivation; not even just that play, (but) the whole season. I know the other guys at the receiver spot – how we’ve (played) throughout the rest of the season and still didn’t get those wins – that’s all motivation for us to go out and ball out.”

Johnson remains one touchdown grab shy of tying a team single-season record of 11, set by Bill Brooks in 1995, and has one last chance to do so in next Sunday’s season finale at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets.

He said one final strong performance to end the season would cement his place as one of the team’s bona fide playmakers rather than just the beneficiary of double coverage on Lee Evans, as was the case most of the season.

“You’ll be remembered by that last game. You don’t want to show them that this just happened one year (because opponents) didn’t know who you (were),” Johnson said. “We know it wasn’t all (due to) double coverage on the opposite side, (but) it’s all motivation to show that you’re a legit factor on the football team.”