Earlier this week, Bills coach Chan Gailey said the Bills made the decision not to re-sign Terrell Owens this season in part, because they thought he had "hit the wall" at the age of 36.
Gailey basically admitted he and Buddy Nix were wrong in that assessment based on Owens performance this season, but it's the second part of the statement that says much more about the direction the Bills seem to be headed.
"We had some younger receivers and wanted to go in a different direction."
That direction was toward Stevie Johnson. Before the Bills stepped on the field, the results this season had proven the merits of that decision. Sunday's performance at Cincinnati provided an exclamation point.
Johnson, a third year player and former seventh round pick, caught three touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick, helping the Bills rally from 21-points down and beat the Bengals 49-31 for their second win of the season.
It was the largest comeback for Buffalo in 13-years, and Johnson was a huge difference maker. Johnson caught eight passes for 137-yards and the three TD's. He's now got 52 receptions for 728-yards and nine touchdowns. During the course of training camp and the first half of the season, Chan Gailey talked about the need for Johnson to refine his game, to be more precise in terms of running routes. Clearly he's done that, and grown rapidly as the offense has evolved under Gailey and with Fitzpatrick at the helm.
Johnson is a guy that clearly like to express himself on and off the field, He performs and produces his own music. His flair for the dramatic extends to his game as well. Earlier this year, he was fined for a celebration in New England that involved mocking the Patriots Minutemen mascots. After one of his touchdowns in Cincinnati, he pulled up his game jersey and revealed a hand written message across his abdomen that read "why so serious?"
Part of the answer to that question is that he's earning respect as a serious threat -and a serious part of the Bills future.