NFL

Tyler Boyd Is Emerging as the Bengals’ Next Chad Johnson

Cincinnati Bengals fans have known for years what Tyler Boyd is capable of doing.

Now, the 25-year-old Boyd is making a name for himself on the national level. With A.J. Green still trying to regain his old form, Boyd is continuing his emergence as one of the NFL’s best young receivers.

Much like Chad Johnson and Green before him, Boyd is becoming a dangerous, long-term option for the Cincinnati Bengals at receiver.

Tyler Boyd has quietly been a productive NFL wideout

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A second-round pick from Pittsburgh in 2016, Tyler Boyd has quietly had an impressive past few seasons in Cincinnati.

Boyd turned 54 catches into 603 yards and a touchdown as a rookie. He also picked up 58 yards on four carries.

Boyd’s numbers dipped to 22 catches, 225 yards, and two touchdowns in 2017. Enter 2018, though, when Boyd broke out in a big way.

Across the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Boyd combined for 166 catches, 2,074 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Boyd went under the radar, though, partly because the Bengals fell from relevance and partly because of the talent like Michael Thomas and Julio Jones currently dominating the league at receiver.

Boyd is off to a strong start in 2020

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Much like Chad Johnson became Carson Palmer’s No. 1 wideout when Palmer arrived in 2003, Tyler Boyd is filling the same role for Joe Burrow this year.

Boyd turned 21 catches into 230 yards and a touchdown over the Bengals’ first three games. Boyd’s Week 3 outing was one of the best he’s had in his five NFL seasons.

The veteran wideout caught 10 passes for 125 yards in a 23-23 tie with the Philadelphia Eagles. Boyd had his first double-digit reception game since a 26-23 loss to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 6, 2019. The 10 catches tied a career-high.

Boyd’s 125 receiving yards marked the fourth-highest total of his career. Boyd had 138 catches in a 37-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 28, 2018.

Joe Burrow has his long-term No. 1 wideout in Tyler Boyd

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Every rookie quarterback needs — or at least, deserves — a young receiver to go along with him.

The Cincinnati Bengals, for all of their faults, have mastered that idea. When Carson Palmer arrived in 2003, he had Chad Johnson and T. J. Houshmandzadeh.

Andy Dalton, the Bengals’ second-round pick in 2011, made his NFL debut alongside A.J. Green, the Bengals’ first-round pick that year. The duo formed a solid partnership for nearly a decade before the Bengals replaced Dalton, now in Dallas, with Joe Burrow.

Now, Joe Burrow has Tyler Boyd on his side and on the outside. The only thing Burrow and the Bengals (0-2-1) need now is to start winning.

During his postgame media session, Boyd weighed in on how close the Bengals are to breaking through.

“Despite everything that’s going on, despite all the statistics and everything, we’ve still got to make one more play. I feel like if I could have made one more huge play to get us into a field goal drive to go on and win the game. At the end of the day, we’ve just got to find a way to win.”

The good news for Tyler Boyd and the Bengals is they have plenty of time left to turn their season around.

The bad news? After a Week 4 matchup with Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars, Cincinnati travels to Baltimore for a Week 5 showdown with Lamar Jackson and the rival Ravens. Boyd averaged four catches for 55 yards in his first eight games against the Ravens. 

In Week 6, Cincinnati travels to play Philip Rivers and the Colts

Will Boyd and the Bengals have a victory by then? If Boyd continues his hot play of late, the answer may actually be a resounding “yes.”

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