‘It’s a Pretty Raw Feeling’ – Rare Drop of Potential Game-Winner Wears on Bengals WR Tyler Boyd

Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd has been one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL, but a drop in a big spot Sunday hurt.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd spent several long minutes after Sunday’s 30-27 loss to the Houston Texans sitting at his locker, still in uniform, staring straight ahead.

By the time he finally moved, it was just to put his head in his hands.

What Did Tyler Boyd Say About His Dropped Game Winner?

Each time he was asked if he would talk, including after he had showered and dressed, the answer was the same: “Nah.”

The emotions from dropping a pass in the end zone for what would have been a go-ahead touchdown with 1:37 remaining clearly was weighing heavy on Boyd’s shoulders, his mind, and his soul.

Everyone in the locker room knew it. They also knew not to approach him after the loss and instead threw their support behind him through the media.

“Everybody knows,” head coach Zac Taylor said. “He’s going to put a lot of (responsibility) on himself because it’s the end of the game, but there were so many opportunities we had over the course of the game. Players and coaches — all of us — there’s a lot of things all of us could have done better so we weren’t in that position.”

That position was left for dead, then Zombified menaces.

Trailing 27-17 with 3:41 to go and Paycor Stadium rapidly emptying to a chorus of groans and boos, the Bengals were gifted reincarnation when Houston quarterback threw a head-scratching interception that Cam Taylor-Britt returned to the 4-yard line.

In the span of 82 seconds, Joe Mixon scored a touchdown, the Cincinnati defense that had been torched all day came up with a three-and-out, and Joe Burrow hit Boyd for a 64-yard gain down to the Houston 7-yard line.

On 3rd-and-goal, the Bengals got an ideal matchup with Boyd on linebacker Denzel Perryman. Boyd easily beat him on a slant route, and Burrow hit Boyd in both hands, only to have it bounce off.

Boyd laid on the turf holding his head in disbelief before jogging off the field and throwing his helmet as the Bengals settled for a game-tying field goal.

MORE: Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals Observations

“We wouldn’t even have been down there if it wasn’t for him,” Burrow said.

Boyd had 83 of his 117 yards in the fourth quarter alone, the fourth highest total by any receiver in the league this year. But it could have been 90 had it done been for the drop.

“Obviously, you’d like to come down with it,” Burrow added. “But we were able to go down there and tie it up.”

The tie didn’t last long as the Texans went 55 yards in six plays for the game-winning field goal, sending Boyd deep into his feelings.

“No, I don’t say anything,” center Ted Karras said when asked if he, as a team captain, approached Boyd after the drop. “It’s a pretty raw feeling to lose a game on a last-second kick. Your mind races to everything you could have done differently to switch the outcome in our favor.”

While disappointment was the prevailing emotion, there was another large one — shock.

Boyd came into Sunday’s game as one of the most reliable receivers in the league. Since Burrow arrived in 2020, Boyd has been targeted 347 times with seven drops. There are 64 receivers with at least 200 targets in that span, and only two have fewer drops — Hunter Renfrow (five) and Allen Robinson (six).

After today, Boyd’s number jumped to nine because he also dropped a pass in the third quarter when Cincinnati was in the throes of five consecutive possessions that ended in punts. Boyd was open over the middle for at least a 15-yard gain, and the ball went off his hands. Burrow was sacked on the next play for the team’s fourth consecutive three-and-out.

“That’s my dog, man,” wide receiver Trenton Irwin said of Boyd. “It happens, and it’s one of those things you got to deal with.”

Ja’Marr Chase certainly could empathize after his struggle with drops during his rookie year.

“I didn’t really say much to him,” Chase said. “He made one drop. I don’t want him to get too mad about the situation. It was a great play and a great route by him, but you’ve got to move forward.”

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