Former Pitt wide receiver and Clairton native Tyler Boyd faced his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, and early on, it looked like he might lead his team to an upset of their AFC North rivals. However, despite some astounding work from Boyd, the Bengals would fall short and lose to the Steelers 16-10.
Boyd’s first brilliant feat of the game was a one-handed catch that came at the expense of Steelers defensive back Terrell Edmunds in the second quarter. Despite Edmunds grabbing a handful of his jersey, Boyd launched himself upward and managed to reel in a 47-yard pass from Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley.
That impressive reception placed the Bengals on the Steelers’ 15-yard line, and on the next play, Finley targeted Boyd once more to cap off the drive. The former NC State signal-caller found Boyd in the end zone, and he brought in the ball to give the Bengals a 7-3 lead.
In the third quarter, the Steelers took a 10-7 lead on a touchdown pass from Devlin Hodges to James Washington. However, Boyd was instrumental in evening the score for the Bengals, as he caught a pass for a gain of 11 yards and a first down with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter. That drive would end with a Bengals field goal, tying the game at 10 apiece.
Unfortunately for Boyd, his final notable play of the day benefited the Steelers, as he fumbled after gaining 22 yards and lost the ball to Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Steelers did not score on the subsequent drive, but had Boyd not lost the fumble, the Bengals would have had the ball on the Steelers' 8-yard line with a chance to score. The Steelers would go on to retake the lead and log a 16-10 win.
Boyd would lead all receivers with 101 yards on five receptions, and he also had a game-high nine targets. That stood in contrast to the Bengals’ previous outing, a 17-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders in which Finley looked Boyd’s way just three times and connected with him once for no gain. The Week 11 contest marked a low point in the season for Boyd and prompted him to speak up.
”I feel like I’m the go-to guy with A.J. [Green] down,” Boyd told Ben Baby of ESPN last week. “I felt like [my] targets were not where they should have been. I feel that I’m a game-changer and I could have utilized my talents in any way to move the chains, and nothing was coming my way.”
With the 101-yard game in the books, Boyd has three games with 100 or more yards this season, bringing his 2019 totals to 699 yards and two touchdowns on 63 catches. While the Pitt product has impressed in flashes in 2019, as he did on Sunday, he has struggled to find consistency amid a down year for the Bengals.
Now at 0-11 on the year, Boyd and the Bengals are hoping to avoid a winless campaign. They’ll get a chance to right the ship this coming Sunday, when they face the New York Jets.