Bengals film breakdown: Tyler Boyd vs. Bills

Tommy Jaggi

By: Mike Vannucci

This offseason, Tyler Boyd signed a new contract; he was immediately in the spotlight becoming the team’s number one receiver following the injury to A.J. Green.

Despite not finding the end zone through three weeks, Boyd’s performance has been impressive. Through 3 games this season Boyd has accumulated 24 receptions on 31 targets (77% catch rate), 250 yards, and 0 TD (as previously mentioned).

If Boyd maintains this production throughout the season, he would finish the year with 128 receptions (8 per game) and 1,328 yards (83 per game) Obviously, we hope his 0 touchdowns trends upwards.

This would rank Boyd 1st in receptions and 11th in receiving yards when compared to all receivers in 2018. 

We took a look at each individual target from last week’s close road loss to the 3-0 Buffalo Bills. Here is a breakdown of every target Tyler Boyd saw come his way: 

Target #1: Complete

His first target was on a quick screen from a condensed stack split. The play stood no chance because the left tackle took too long to get out to Boyd’s cover defender, who ultimately makes the tackle for a loss. There was a small crease Boyd could have hit, if the kickout block was made by the Right Tackle.

Target #2: Incomplete

Here, Boyd seems to be working some type of option route on the Mike (middle) linebacker. The backer keeps his inside leverage, so Boyd works out. You’ll see that if the ball is thrown to Boyd’s outside shoulder, this is a completion. The ball gets tipped but seemed a bit late regardless.

Target #3: Incomplete

Boyd is working a deep out route from the #3 in trips (innermost receiver). He does a nice job working a speed release & dipping his inside shoulder to win at the line of scrimmage. We’d like to see him work to stack, or work directly in front of his defender.

 At the top of his route, he then could give the defender some type of head, or shoulder fake (also known as an 'in-set') to influence him inside, as he breaks out. There is still a chance for this ball to be completed but it is thrown slightly too far to the outside.

Target #4: Complete

The Bengals come out of the half with play action, and the linebackers are so aggressive they end up on the line of scrimmage. They were most likely influenced by the pulling left guard. 

This allows Boyd to run free across the field on his over route. The ball gets tipped at the line, and this limits the YAC (yards after catch) opportunity. First down.

Target #5: Interception

Here Boyd is isolated on the backside of the formation. He has a 'nasty' split; meaning he is aligned tighter to the formation than when he normally is the single receiver. This alerts Tre'Davious White, who happens to be one of the better corners in the NFL. 

Boyd is running a deep out against an off-cover defender with outside leverage. In order to win on this route, he must attack that outside shoulder on his vertical stem; which he does. However, at the top of his route Boyd chops his steps up – providing an indicator to the defender that a break is coming. He should not alter his stride prior to using a 'speed cut,' or 1-step roll over to the out. 

It is imperative that the ball is out on time on a route like this. Boyd could help Dalton out here by finishing 'negative' or 'friendly to the QB' meaning he works back toward the line of scrimmage slightly to keep himself between the defender and the ball.

Target #6: Complete

Boyd is running a glance (short post) here off of play-action. The play-action freezes the linebacker inside Boyd, and Dalton does a good job getting the ball to him right as he clears that backer. Boyd snaps his eyes immediately because he knows this ball has to come hot between the safety and the linebacker.

Target #7: Complete

Boyd is running a slant here versus a press corner. Before we break down the route, let’s talk about the pre-snap shift, as well as the motion. The formation starts out with the running back split out wide with a linebacker split out with him. This tells the offense it is more than likely man to man coverage. This is confirmed when the running back shifts into the backfield, and then motions out wide to the right – being followed by the linebacker (his cover defender both times). This is one trick that the offense will use to help them identify the coverage. Now, to Boyd’s route.

He works a stretch release to widen his defender, then jabs his outside foot to keep him outside prior to breaking to the slant. He does a nice job slapping the defender’s hand away after moving him outside.

Target #8: Complete

Bengals come back to play action, faking the wide zone from a condensed set. This play design is really difficult for defenses to defend out of man coverage, and it seems that is what the Bengals caught the Bills in here. Boyd leaks under the formation to the opposite flat, faking the split zone action. 

It makes it very difficult for Boyd’s cover defender to cover him across the formation through all of the traffic in the middle of the field. Boyd then demonstrates his athleticism by explosively hurdling the initial would-be tackler.

Target #9: Complete

Boyd is aligned in a stack set to the right of the formation. Defenses tend to play stack alignments two different ways; the first being referred to as a 'Banjo:' Where the two cover defenders responsible for the two stacked receivers split the two receivers based on the outside defender taking the first outside releasing receiver, and the inside defender taking the first inside releasing receiver. The other way teams defend it is by getting on different levels (or aligning at different depths) and locking on to one receiver; which it looks like the Bills do here.

Boyd does a really nice job pushing his vertical stem and spraying to the outside to widen the defender. Boyd threatens with his vertical stem, which forces the defender to flip his hips to turn and run. Once the defender turns to run with the vertical, Boyd breaks his route flat. It’s important to note the chop Boyd uses when the defender attempts to get hands-on as a last resort. A textbook route here by Boyd.

Target #10: Incomplete

Motion identifies man coverage, as the defender runs with Boyd. Tyler Boyd could be a bit more patient or work a flatter angle off the ball to avoid the traffic with his tight end (who also needs to get a cleaner release). 

He is open by alignment alone, meaning his cover defender is higher than his route depth. He is running a 5 yard out, and his cover defender is at 9 yards. This is a pretty clean read; he and Dalton are not on the same page. Boyd’s frustration is on full display.

Target #11: Incomplete

Boyd does a nice job winning at the line of scrimmage, which he did most of the game. He works a single jab and dips that shoulder so the defender doesn’t have anything to jam. He then does a better job stacking the defender; however, he needs to influence the defender a little more in the direction opposite of where he wants to break – 'in-set' or 'hip shift.'

He and Dalton are not on the same page again, as Dalton throws him inside here. It looks like he had a two-way break on this route, Dalton throws him to space.

Comments (7)
No. 1-3
Sam Ouhaj
Sam Ouhaj

Boyd’s name keeps flashing all over, but I’m not honestly sure if him and Dalton will be able to get anything going


You think Boyd will keep up with his current level of production for the remainder of the season?

Tommy Jaggi
Tommy Jaggi


Boyd is developing into a consistent weapon across the middle. I would like to see him get more action in the redzone though.

Game Day