ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Two days later, receiver Stevie Johnson still can’t get over how the Buffalo Bills botched their final play in a loss to the New England Patriots last weekend.
Yesterday, Johnson second-guessed why a more experienced receiver wasn’t targeted on a play that ended with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing an interception into the end zone to seal a 37-31 loss. And Johnson also came to T.J. Graham’s defense, saying the rookie receiver shouldn’t be faulted for running the wrong route because he had never attempted it in practice.
“I don’t think it was the wrong play. But just the whole thing leading up to it,” Johnson said, noting that he, receiver Donald Jones and tight end Scott Chandler were more familiar at running the route.
“We had people in positions where maybe they shouldn’t have been. So who knows what would’ve happened if it was Donald, me or Scott there. So it’s no blame on T.J. at all, because he’s never run that route in practice or in a game.”
The play in question occurred with 28 seconds left and after the Bills marched 65 yards to the Patriots 15 with a chance to pull out a comeback victory, and end an 11-game losing streak at Foxborough.
Faking to his left, Fitzpatrick turned to his right and threw a pass intercepted by Devin McCourty in the end zone. Graham was the intended receiver, but made the mistake of running behind McCourty rather than in front of him.
Rather than looking ahead to hosting AFC East rival Miami (4-5) tomorrow night, the Bills (3-6) are still stuck on the recent past.
Johnson was particularly frustrated after the loss to New England, because the Bills squandered an opportunity to turn around their season.