For the third straight first half at home, the Bengals suffered a game-ending injury to one of their top skill players that is leaving everyone guessing when wide receiver Tyler Boyd went down with a knee injury in the first half's final minute during Sunday's 30-16 win over the Raiders in the Paul Brown Stadium finale.
This time they persevered behind running back Joe Mixon's career-high 129 yards, wide receiver Alex Erickson's 77-yarder that was his longest kick return nearly two years to the day and defensive tackle Geno Atkins' three-sack fourth quarter.
Three weeks ago they lost quarterback Andy Dalton to a thumb injury and two weeks ago they lost wide receiver A.J. Green to a toe injury and both are gone for the year. After the game Boyd was upbeat he'd be back before the Bengals finish their season over the next two weeks ("Definitely") and said he was taken out for precautionary reasons. It was encouraging Boyd talked to the media because Green and Dalton didn't, which heightened the concern. But there are those in the building not as optimistic as Boyd and he said he'll undergo an MRI Monday. With Boyd going down moments after he hit 1,028 yards for the season, that leaves John Ross as their next active leading wide receiver with 206 yards.
_Bengals all-time leading receiver Chad Johnson has apparently already examined Boyd's version of his River Dance and approved the Ode to Ocho that was first seen after Johnson's touchdown in a 24-7 win in Chicago on Sept. 25, 2005. Boyd's wait to do it after his seven-yard touchdown catch on third down 12 minutes into the game started Sunday's scoring was almost as long as the Bengals' five-game losing streak that also ended Sunday. He put Johnson on notice before the Nov. 11 loss to New Orleans, but his scoreless skein matched the losing streak.
"I don't even know. It's been awhile," said Boyd of the last time he practiced it after watching YouTube.com
He wanted to pay respect to Johnson by doing his two favorite dances that wouldn't get him fined, the River Dance and the CPR, where Johnson dropped to his knees and resuscitated the football. (Boyd's favorite is "Tiger Hood," where Johnson putted the ball with a pylon, but he feared a penalty.) Boyd said he was having such a good day (among his four catches for 38 yards were the TD and a fourth-and-two conversion), that he thought he'd get another shot to do CPR in the same game.
"I was just going to drop and do CPR. But I thought I'm going to get back in there," he said.
Images from week 15 at Paul Brown Stadium as the Bengals host the Oakland Raiders.
So the next one …
"That's going to be one of the options," he said.
But don't look for the Hall-of-Fame jacket.
"A little too much. A little too much," Boyd said. "He was doing a lot of crazy stuff. I don't want to be that guy."
_But he is that guy in the sense he's the Bengals' first 1,000-yard receiver since Johnson not named A.J. when Chad went for 1,047 in 2009. Boyd was already revising his goals on the day it went in the books: "Hopefully I get into the Pro Bowl. I've working my tail off each and every day."
_When Boyd went out, the passing game struggled with 123 yards when Jeff Driskel hit just 14 of 33 passes. It's the fewest passing yards they've had in a win since they had 120 in an Opening Day win in Kansas City in 2006.
_After not doing it all year, the Bengals ran it (41) more than they passed for the second straight game and racked up 171 yards, their most yards rushing since a Dec. 11, 2016 victory in Cleveland. Mixon is now five yards away from his first 1,000-yard season and becoming the Bengals' first 1,000-yard rusher since Jeremy Hill in 2014. With 207 carries he needs just 16 more to have the most carries since BenJarvus Green-Ellis in 2012 ….
_With his 111 yards rushing last week, Mixon logged the first back-to-back 100-yard games for the club since Hill had 100 in the last three games of '14 ...
_In the nine previous games the Bengals had two fumble recoveries. When cornerback Darqueze Dennard punched the ball out of running back Jalen Richard's hands and fell on it at the Raiders 34 early in the second quarter, Dennard and Carlos Dunlap (courtesy of rookie end Sam Hubbard's blind-side hit of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr) each had one in a span of about 14 minutes ....