Former Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd has seen his role with the Cincinnati Bengals expand this season, and on Sunday, he became the top target of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton during the absence of star wideout A.J. Green. As a result, he hit the century mark for the first time in his NFL career.
Although the game ended in a 31-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Boyd was able to amass 137 total yards and a touchdown. He also reeled in a 49-yard reception, matching the longest of his career, which came in the Bengals’ 2017 season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.
Boyd did a little bit of everything for the Bengals on Sunday, even breaking out a jet sweep for five yards. Of course, that appeared to come at a great cost, as rookie cornerback Donte Jackson sent him flying several yards toward the sideline in what would be Boyd’s first and last rushing play of the afternoon. However, Boyd continued to make an impact through the air all day.
His biggest play of the game undoubtedly came in the third quarter, when Dalton found him wide open in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown reception that brought the Bengals within a score of the Panthers. It was Boyd’s second touchdown of the season and the fifth of his NFL career.
Of course, all this is part of a positive trend for Boyd. The Pitt product has seen his production steadily increase each game this season, as he kicked off 2018 with a 32-yard showing against the Indianapolis Colts and posted 91 yards and a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens before his 137-yard outburst against the Panthers on Sunday.
During his Pitt career, Boyd became the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards and receptions, with 3,361 and 254, respectively, between 2013 and 2015. However, despite leaving an indelible mark behind in Pittsburgh, it’s taken the wideout some time to distinguish himself as a member of a talented receiving corps led by Green, one of the NFL’s top receivers.
With that said, Boyd’s performance on Sunday served as a long-awaited demonstration of what he can accomplish as the focal point of an offense at the professional level, and the results were something to behold. His emergence will certainly be a relief to the Bengals, as the status of their star receiver remains in question heading into next week’s game.