FOXBORO ‘ Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson acknowledged Wednesday that the Patriots don’t have the best secondary in the league, but ‘they make plays when they need to ‘¦ for the most part.’
‘They win games,’ Johnson said of the New England secondary. ‘We all know about the offense, but it still takes the defense to make plays and hold opponents off. They have done that. I cannot say they are the greatest, but when it is time to play, they definitely step up when needed. They’re a good bunch.’
In a conference call with the New England media, the Bills’ top wide receiver — who was held out of practice Wednesday with what he called ‘a thigh bruise’ — said that if he had to choose between the Patriots and Texans for the top team in the AFC, he’d go with New England.
‘I’m just going to have to say the Patriots because the first quarter (against the Texans) I was feeling pretty good about it from my perspective,’ said Johnson, who has 35 catches for 416 yards and four touchdowns this year. ‘I was feeling pretty good about it. and then I ended up getting the thigh injury and I really couldn’t do too much. I played the game against the Patriots with pretty much no injury and they still put a whooping on us. So I am going to give the nod to the New England Patriots .’
The 6-foot-2, 207-pound Johnson has engaged in a couple of memorable touchdown celebrations at Gillette Stadium , including pretending to fire the musket of one of the end zone Minutemen. (He also revealed a unique fashion sense last season when he scored a touchdown against New England in a New Year’s Day game and pulled up a T-shirt that had ‘Happy New Year!’ written on the front. The stunt earned him a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct and some time on the sidelines.)
This time around, he said he has no celebrations planned.
‘That happened in the middle of the game,’ he recalled with a laugh when he was asked about the musket celebration. ‘The Patriots scored, the musket went off and scared me on the sideline. I was like ‘OK, I got something for them.’ This year, no. I pretty much just want to get in the end zone and keep my team ahead. Whatever happens is going to happen. I do not have anything planned though.
‘All those gun days are done with Stevie Johnson.’
He did have some good things to say about Rob Gronkowski ‘s recent celebration in the Patriots-Rams game in London that saw the big tight end act like one of the palace guards.
‘I like Gronkowski. He’s good,’ he said. ‘And it was well worth doing, being in London.
‘I think it is we put in this work from Monday all of the way to Sunday. You know how hard it is to get in the end zone. Just to get there is like, ‘Man, I did it.’ Just want to celebrate a little bit,’ he added. ‘I think it should be legal to celebrate at least with your teammates. You put in a lot of work throughout the week to get in the end zone, and when you get there, you feel like you can’t even do anything. We understand there are certain things you cannot do. I know I have done some things that you should not be able to do, but for the most part if it is a simple celebration. I think that should be good with any team.’
Here are a few other highlights from his Q&A with the media:
Have you had any one-on-one battles with Aqib Talib  at all?
‘No, never. I have never played against him. I have not played against him a lot in my career.’
How surprised were you when the Patriots acquired Talib at the deadline?
‘I was not surprised. The Patriots have been doing what they have to in order to stay atop the division and keep their team in a good position. It was more of a ‘They are doing what they are supposed to in order to get their team better.’ More power to them. Another player that I have to study when it comes down to it.’
What was the talk in the locker room amongst the team after the loss earlier in the season?
‘It happened like that the year before in the last game of the season when we were up and New England came back. It was just more of we have to finish. If you do not finish, this is what happens. It has been proven I believe three straight games now. That is pretty much what we need to do. We need to finish games. And maybe we will win these games we have been going up 21-7 or 21-0. Who knows what happens if we were to finish these games out.’
Is the underlying message no lead is safe against the Patriots?
‘That is with any team, with us, more against the New England Patriots. In this league that pretty much goes with any team and more so with Tom Brady  at the helm of the offense.’
How much fun do you have watching C.J. Spiller run the ball?
‘It is amazing just seeing the speed. I wish I was as fast as that dude. I am happy to have him on my team. We all saw it in college and now it is starting to really happen. His whole overall game is showing now. I am just glad to have him on my team.’
Other than his obvious physical talents, what makes him a special back?
‘Other than his physical talents, I would say the way he works at practice. It is obvious to say ‘Oh this guy works hard or whatever.’ Just to say something different, he is humble. He is very humble. Through the success and everything he has maintained his humbleness. He is a good dude overall. He does not brag about anything. He just puts his head down and works.’