Tyler Boyd, a holdover from before the current quartet was assembled, has had a very good season. He has caught 67 passes for 828 yards and five touchdowns through 16 games and has four consecutive seasons with at least 800 receiving yards. He is on pace to have a 1,000-yard season this year. But he’s also faced a tough road in leaving Clairton and settling for a career in the NFL.
After a standout college career, Boyd was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He set program records for receiving yards and receptions. After committing to Pitt following the Clairton rushing touchdown, he made a splash at the university. He even won Player of the Year, which is no small feat. But it will take a huge game from Boyd for him to crack the 1,000-yard barrier. Higgins and Chase have already achieved that feat.
While playing for the Bengals, Boyd has been a role model for young people in his hometown. He grew up in Clairton, a depressed town along the Monongahela River. He married a woman, who is also a former high school football star. In Clairton, his daughter was a senior. The 2017 season was not kind to him. Fortunately, the team’s fans were able to support his mission.
In the playoffs, the Bengals leaned on Joe Mixon in a way they had not done in years, as his throw to the quarterback set up a second-and-13. However, the Bengals threw a short pass to Mixon that resulted in a three-yard loss. Despite this miscue, the Bengals took over at their own 16 and held the Rams to a three-and-out.
The Bengals’ offense had been a disappointment in the regular season. The Bengals’ offensive line was subpar, but Joe Burrow threw for 2,215 yards and 20 touchdowns in eight games. He was a 10 year veteran and read blitzes like a pro. The Bengals’ defensive line was mediocre and the quarterback was able to avoid them with ease. But it wasn’t all that impressive.
Despite his lack of experience in the NFL, Boyd remained an excellent college player. While at Pitt, he played wide receiver and also served as a return man. He finished his senior season with 78 receptions for 1,261 yards, which tied him with Larry Fitzgerald for the fewest games to reach that mark. In North Carolina, he racked up 160 yards on five catches and scored a 50-yard touchdown. In the ACC Championship, Boyd received ACC Receiver of the Week honors with seven receptions for 126 yards and a 49-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
The town of Clairton was hit hard by the decline of the steel industry. Since then, the town has been hurting badly. However, Boyd’s football career helped lift Clairton to the top of the state. In high school, Boyd led his Single-A high school to four state championships and a New York Times article about Clairton in the 1980s. If you want a Bengal kitten, consider purchasing one.