Why so serious?
It’s Thanksgiving, which can only mean … football day.
Before you get glued to the Turkey Day games, though, here’s a few leftovers from Sunday’s game at Cincinnati — a 49-31 victory for Buffalo.
As already documented, former Kentucky receiver Steve (a.k.a. Stevie during his UK days) Johnson caught a career-high three touchdown passes as the Bills outscored the Bengals 35-0 in the second half. Wednesday, Johnson revealed that the NFL had fined him $5,000 for lifting his jersey to reveal a message — Why so serious? — scrawled on his undershirt. The message being one uttered by the Joker in the Batman movie The Dark Knight. Johnson was poking fun at the Bengals’ self-dubbed Batman and Robin receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco.
Here’s a bit more of what Johnson had to say after the game, as well as updates on a pair of former Louisville Cardinals Jeff Brohm and Eric Wood.
“This is the closest (to) being home for me, being close to Kentucky,” Johnson said. “I felt I had to show off a little bit for the Big Blue Nation.”
Owens came to the Bengals after a season with the Bills, so Johnson obviously knows Batman well. But he also knows Robin (Ochocinco).
“Those are my guys over there,” Johnson said. “Me and T.O. built a relationship. And he came (to Cincinnati) and took on the persona of Batman, so I wanted to come out and bet the chaos guy and turn into Joker. … I’ll be hearing from him. I’ll be hearing from both of them. It’s just all fun. … I’m gonna have to cool it, though.”
After catching two touchdown passes over his first two seasons, Johnson already has nine this season.
“Just like at Kentucky, I had to sit around and learn to be patient,” he said. “Two years, I only had 12 catches. I had to be patient. But I’ve got a great group of guys in this locker room. They always kept me humble and kept me focused on the future. They knew that I’d be able to play, so I just kept on working.”
Johnson paid attention. Having learned from his teammates at UK, he continues to learn from pro teammates.
“Just like I learned from Keenan (Burton) and Dicky (Lyons) and (Jacob) Tamme — the same thing I’m doing here,” he said. “We had Josh (Reed) here, and Josh taught me about patience. We have Lee (Evans), and I always watch Lee. So consistent, he seems like a machine. I’m even watching the rookies that we have coming in, and seeing how they’re playing. It’s easy to stay focused when you’ve got a good group of guys behind you.”
* Brohm, the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, has yet to play a down this season. A third-year pro, his only action came in two games last season, when he completed 17 of 29 passes for 146 yards, with two interceptions.
“Things are going pretty good. I’m getting reps every day and I’m trying to get better every single day,” he said. “The life of a backup quarterback is to be ready, so I’m just trying to stay ready for whatever opportunity is going to present itself.”
Before his U of L career, Brohm led Trinity to three state championships. So he must have been ecstatic that his Shamrocks dispatched archrival St. Xavier in last week’s Class 6A state quarterfinals, right?
“Trinity got the big win, but I’ve got to say I had to pull back my pulling interest,” he said. “My cousin (Luke) was playing quarterback for St. X. I really had a torn heart there. But always gotta go for the Rocks.”
No torn heart about pulling for a former Kentucky Wildcat (Johnson), though, on a career-game day: “He’s a Buffalo Bill now, so I’m all for it.”
* Wood, who starts at right guard, also found himself rooting for a former Big Blue rival.
“Good for Stevie,” Wood said. “He’s playing well this season and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Wood, a first-round draft pick, had his rookie season cut short last year because of a compound fracture of his left leg. He still has a titanium rod and four screws in the leg. He went down during Sunday’s game with what was first reported as a knee injury, but he later said it was an ankle sprain.
He said he was “all right,” and Coach Chan Gailey indicated that Wood could have reentered the game if necessary.
“I think I’ve developed all right,” said Wood, a graduate of Elder High School in Cincinnati. “Had a bad injury last year that I’m still working to get back 100 percent from, but I’ve gained some valuable experience these last couple years and have been able to play some pretty good games along the way.”