Bills receiver Stevie Johnson scored a touchdown on an 18-yard pass play in the first quarter of today's game at Gillette Stadium, and immediately hopped up and pulled up his uniform jersey to reveal a message on his undershirt.
"Happy New Year," it read.
It also proved costly. Johnson was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, and a 15-yard penalty was assessed on the kickoff. It also cost Johnson playing time, as he was benched at the start of the Bills' next series and did not play again in the Bills' 49-21 loss.
Johnson is no stranger to excessive celebration penalties. He had one last season vs. the Patriots when he imitated the New England Minutemen's practice of firing their muskets after Patriots touchdowns, and earlier this season was flagged for mocking Jets receiver Plaxico Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the leg. Burress did jail time after shooting himself in the leg with a handgun in a nightclub in 2008.
"I don’t even really know what happened. I know he got benched. I saw the flag, but I don’t know what he really did. Who knows, maybe this is the last game we play together, but maybe it’s not. But things started out well and unfortunately he got taken out," Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said.
"It definitely hurt that Stevie wasn’t out there. I don’t know what to tell you. I assume whatever he did, he didn’t think he would get a penalty for it. Unfortunately he got the penalty and coach Chan [Gailey] made the decision," Fitzpatrick added.