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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) fumbles as he is hit by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. The ball was recovered by Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Robert Golden (21). The Steelers won 24-16. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Cincinnati Bengals

Tyler Boyd’s Pittsburgh homecoming a mixed bag

(AP Photo/Don Wright)
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PITTSBURGH — Tyler Boyd showed both his vast potential and lack of experience in his return to his hometown.

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver had six receptions for 78 yards in a 24-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field in his second NFL game. His fumble also cost his team a chance at a come-from-behind victory.

Boyd was a star player at Clairton High School outside of Pittsburgh and had a stellar three-year career at the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted in the second round this year.

However, the fumble put a bit of a damper on his homecoming, as the Bengals fell to 1-1.

Down eight points, the Bengals were driving when Boyd was hit by linebacker James Harrison and fumbled following a six-yard reception. Safety Robert Golden recovered for the Steelers at their 33-yard line to seal the victory.

The ruling was controversial as Boyd’s knee appeared to hit the ground before the ball popped loose. However, the officials’ ruling stood following a replay review.

“I should have done a better job with ball security,” Boyd said. “I still believe I was down but the call didn’t say so. All I can do is go out there and keep playing.”

Despite the fumble, the Bengals have been encouraged by Boyd’s play so far. He had two catches for 24 yards in the season-opening victory over the New York Jets and his eight receptions rank third on the team behind five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green (14) and running back Giovani Bernard (11).

Boyd became an important part of the offense on a day when the Steelers held Green to just two catches for 38 yards. Bernard also had a big performance in the passing game with nine receptions for 100 yards and the Bengals’ lone touchdown, a 25-yard catch-and-run with 3:25 remaining that made it a one-score game at 24-16.

Boyd has gained the confidence of quarterback Andy Dalton, who said that won’t change because of the fumble.

“You have to put it behind you,” Dalton said. “You can’t let affect what goes on next. I think he will do a good job of doing that. I thought he played well. I thought he did a lot of good things.”

However, the day wasn’t a total loss for Boyd.

He had the chance to play in the stadium that he called home during his college career and also won district championships in as a high school player. It was also the first time many of those close to Boyd had a chance to see him in a professional game.

“It felt really good but it felt different since I was the visiting guy this time,” Boyd said. “At the end of the day I play for the Bengals, and I wanted to perform for my team. I don’t have a number for you but I know tons of friends and family were here supporting me.”

Boyd will experience another thrill this upcoming Sunday when he plays in his first home game at Paul Brown Stadium. The opponent will be the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, who are 2-0.

“I feel confident about it,” Boyd said. “We have a top team. I feel like we can compete against a Super Bowl team.”

Tyler Boyd’s Pittsburgh homecoming a mixed bag


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