Tyler Boyd says his knee was down before he fumbled.
PITTSBURGH - Yes, the Bengals thought rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd's knee was down at the Steelers 33 with 1:50 left in Sunday's 24-16 loss at Heinz Field.
Boyd, the Pittsburgh schoolboy sensation, wowed the home crowd with six catches for 78 yards. He appeared to have made a six-yard catch on first down, but the refs said he fumbled before his knee hit.
The Bengals didn't see it that way.
"What did you see on the replay?" cornerback Adam Jones asked the assembled media. "What does it matter?"
When one reporter said it looked like the knee was down, Jones said, "End of discussion."
"It was close. We were ready to go out there," said quarterback Andy Dalton of the offense.
"Definitely," Boyd said when asked if he thought his knee was down. "The guys did a real great job having my back. Telling me to keep my head up. I felt real bad because there was (1:50 left) and we were in great position to go down and score. Once I saw it on the screen, I just felt we were going to have another chance, another snap at it. But it didn't go our way."
The Bengals did a superb job of holding resident Steelers superman Antonio Brown to four catches for 39 yards and no TDs, his lowest yardage total with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger since Dec. 30, 2012, long before he was "AB."
"We didn't want to see dancing," said cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, of the goal of shutting Brown out of the end zone." I feel like a lot of guys kind of relax on him. I thought Adam (Jones) and I did a great job of getting up on him and challenging him. Making Ben be perfect with the ball. Because at some point he'll mess up. He won't always be perfect. The play he threw the ball behind him, Adam was in great position to make the play."
Jones made the pick at the Bengals 21 when Ben threw behind Brown on a slant while Brown was slipping on the wet turf, stopping the Steelers' second drive and keeping the game scoreless. Jones had words with Brown during the offseason, but that all seemed to be forgotten after the game.
"I take my hat off to that guy. One day he'll be wearing that gold jacket," said Jones of Brown going to the Hall of Fame. "I think we had a great game plan." …
Jones, at the center of last season's Wild Card loss to the Steelers in the last 1:23 in a game that was marked by rough play, said Sunday was fine.
"The game was clean," Jones said. "There was some (bleep) talk. There's always going to be. But the game as far as clean football, we did play in between the lines for the most part." ….
On the Steelers' last punt with 3:08 left, Jones tried to give the Bengals something they didn't have all day. Good field position. Jones got a good ball to handle, a 58-yarder, and he skated for 12 yards to the Bengals 25.
"Couldn't make a cut," Jones said of the conditions.
The Bengals got pummeled on drive start, a category they usually win. Their average drive start was the 19 compared to the Steelers starting at their own 31. Five times the Bengals started at their own 10 or worse and their best shot was from their own 32 ….
You know it's a weird day when you've got a summit meeting of the current NFL receiving leader, the Bengals' A.J. Green, squared up with the first man in history to have back-to-back 125-catch seasons in the Steelers' Antonio Brown, and Bengals running back Giovani Bernard ends up as the lone 100-yard receiver on nine catches.
While the aces combined for six catches and 77 yards, Bengals rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd went six for 78.
Green had eight targets for just two catches for 38 yards seven days after catching all but one of 13 targets in New York. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell and tight end C.J. Uzomah had same number of targets Sunday with eight as Green dealt with safety Mike Mitchell helping his corners on Green pretty much every snap unlike the one-on-one scheme he saw last week from the Jets.
"They clouded my side the whole game," said Green, who always sees this from the Steelers. "They play crazy look defenses. We put ourselves in bad situations and at the end of the day still had a chance to tie the game up."
Green's only worse game last season was a one-catch outing in San Francisco for 37 yards. When he struggled with injuries in 2014, he had two games with no catches. His last two-catch game was against Cleveland in a 2013 victory ….
Give this to cornerback Darqueze Dennard. In his first game back since blowing out his shoulder Nov. 22 in Arizona, he didn't use rust as an excuse. He gave up balls of 53 and 44 yards when he let wide receiver Sammie Coats get behind him, and thhe Steelers scored TDs on the very next play and on the second play after the big one.
"Not rust," Dennard said. "I have to play better on game day."