Receiver Report: Bengal's Tyler Boyd versus Arizona - Week 5
After a disappointing performance versus Pittsburgh, Tyler Boyd continued his productive season this past Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals. He receiver the second highest target total of his career, getting thrown to 14 times (catching 10).
His previous career high came in Week 4 versus the Atlanta Falcons; a game the Bengals went on to win in the final seconds on an AJ Green Touchdown reception. In that game Boyd went for 11 receptions on 15 targets.
This past week, Boyd put together his most impressive outing of the season:
10 Receptions on 14 targets - 123 yards - 1 touchdown
Boyd is now on pace for nearly 120 receptions (118) and nearly 1,300 yards (1,296). We can expect the touchdown total to increase due to the amount of volume he is receiving. Don't be surprised to see him more involved down in the red zone as he is the best route runner the Bengals have.
Let's get into the breakdown of each of his 14 targets.
Target #1: Complete
Boyd is running a quick out here versus a press cover defender. It looks like he is taking an "opposite" release here, meaning since he is running an out-breaking route; he releases inside. The defender stays square with Boyd's inside stem, so Boyd uses physicality to create separation.
Boyd does a nice job finishing negative here; a phrase used in previous articles. Let's take an in-depth look at what it means to "finish negative" or "friendly to the quarterback." (Volume Up for audio breakdown)
Target #2: Incomplete
Here the Bengals are running a switch release, meaning the outside and inside receiver are trading landmarks. Off the line of scrimmage, the inside receiver stems outside, and the outside receiver stems inside. They are both running stop routes at the first down marker.
Boyd starts in the slot before working outside. If Boyd pushes an extra step or two on his vertical stem, he may be able to get his cover defender to flip his hips to run with the threat of the vertical. However, the defender sits on the first down marker. If the ball is delivered earlier, this has a chance of being completed.
Target #3: Incomplete
Boyd releases up the seam here and the ball is put a bit behind him; still, a catch that needs to be made. The defender responsible for getting hands-on Boyd before his vertical stem is a few yards inside of Boyd, so Boyd wins with speed; would like to see him dip that right shoulder to eliminate any contact with the defender.
On routes like this, the ball is going to come once Boyd clears that low defender; he needs to snap his eyes to the quarterback immediately after clearing him. This throw has to be fit in on a line between the linebacker and the safety. You can see Boyd's eyes are a bit late, which may have negatively impacted his ability to track the ball. The defender does make a nice play, getting a hand on the pass.
Target #4: Incomplete
On his fourth target of the game, Boyd has that "nasty" split where he is tight to the formation. He is running a deep out versus a press cover defender. Boyd never really gets his shoulders square, and continues to get width and depth; getting squeezed to the sideline by the defender.
There is no real threat with the vertical stem. Also, notice at the top of the route how Boyd reaches out in front of his body to speed cut to the out. When that foot gets too far out in front of his body, he is unable to absorb/produce force efficiently enough to roll the route over at the angle he wants to. This is what causes him to lose his footing.
Now, the receiver's foot won't always strike the ground directly under his hips, but here Boyd reaches a bit too much. You'll also notice him drag that back foot as he rolls his route over. It is tough to properly decelerate/cut with that front foot so far ahead, so the compensation is to create friction (resistance) with the bag leg to help decelerate.
Target #5: Complete
The Bengals are running a play-action bootleg off of zone scheme to the offenses left. The receivers are in a condensed formation, and Boyd leaks underneath the formation into the flat. The action pulls the linebackers, and Boyd is left uncovered in the flat. The Bengals come to this again in the red zone, and the Cardinals aren't fooled.
Target #6: Complete
On 3rd and short, the Bengals run a type of rub concept. They start Boyd on the left side of the formation and motion him towards the two receiver stack on the right. Both receivers in the stack release vertically outside, as Boyd sprints to the flat underneath. A tough route concept for the Cardinals to cover here. Nice play call, and execution.
Target #7: Complete
If you were able to get to the article posted yesterday about the continuing red-zone struggles from the Bengals, then this video will look familiar. The Bengals are running a slant flat/arrow concept with Boyd and the back (Boyd is split to the right of the offensive formation or the top of the screen). When running a slant versus an off cover defender, it is imperative that we don't provide any "indicator" for the defender to identify that a break may be coming.
An example of an indicator would be: a change in stride, shortening of strides, a change in pad height, arms die (stop moving), looking where we want to cut, and/or body lean. What that means is, up until Boyd sticks his foot in the ground to break to his slant, the defender shouldn't have any idea what route he is running.
Boyd does a nice job threatening vertical off the ball with full strides, and keeping his hips/shoulder square prior to breaking to his slant. If the ball is on time, it's a difficult route to cover when running well.
Target #8: Complete
The Bengals come back to a similar concept they ran earlier, where Boyd was uncovered in the flat (Target #5). However, the Cardinals do a much better job defending it. The defensive line moves the line of scrimmage causing Boyd to get bumped off his path. Most importantly, the first time the Bengals ran this play, they caught the Cardinals rolling from their 2-High Shell (2 safeties deep) to a Cover 3 variation.
One of the safeties was rolling down and was responsible for the flat. However, that safety got caught looking in the backfield due to the play action, and it left Boyd wide open in the flat.
Here, the Cardinals are in a different coverage (as the Bengals are in a different formation). This time the corner is sitting in the flat because the safety is responsible for the vertical release from the tight end.
Target #9: Complete
Backed up, the Bengals work a curl flat concept with a clear out from Uzomah. The motion from Uzomah tells Dalton this is more than likely zone, as there is no one truly running with the motion; the defense simply "bumps" over.
The Bengals get what they want, reading the low defender over the two receivers to the left of the offensive formation (top of the screen). As he expands with Uzomah to the flat, the window to hit Boyd on the curl opens up.
Boyd does a nice job threatening vertical, and attacking the corners leverage to widen him (opening the curl window even more). Notice how everything Boyd does tells the defender it is going to be a vertical route until he suddenly sinks his hips to break to his curl. Great execution all around here by Boyd, and the rest of the offense.
Bengals align in a 3x1 formation to the field (to the right of the offensive formation), and they are running double slants from the #1 and #2 receivers, while #3 (Boyd) is running an arrow or flat route.
For sure a conservative call on 2nd and 19. Coverage lifts, so Dalton takes the flat route to Boyd. One part of Boyd's game which he can improve on to take a giant step as a receiver is his ability to make people miss in the open field.
Target #11: Incomplete
Here Boyd is split out wide, and the Bengals are looking to take a shot on first down. Boyd is running what looks like a "Shin" Pump ("short in" double move), or a stutter and go; tough to tell. Regardless, he must do a better job of getting the defender's hands-off.
Whether he works a dip of that inside shoulder to reduce the area which the defender can strike or a shed technique to wipe the defender's hands away. There is a lot of contact but this would not be illegal contact because it occurs within five yards, and it wasn't pass interference because the ball wasn't released.
However, it looks like Boyd got held a bit at the end of the route. On Arizona's 36 yard line, first down; good place and time to take a shot (knowing this is a four-down situation).
Target #12: Complete
The Bengals are running a 3-man route concept to the left of the offensive formation. Boyd is the inside receiver and he is running the "ball" or "OTB" (over the ball) route. He does a nice job sitting it down and finding the zone between the defensive end who is dropping to the hook curl zone, and the corner from the other side of the formation.
The other two routes in the concept are a "swirl" route by the outside receiver (burst to the corner before returning back down the stem), and a flat route by the running back.
Target #13: Complete
On the Bengals final drive of the game, the Bengals go with an empty set and it gets Boyd matched up on a linebacker. He does a nice job attacking and giving a slight head and shoulder stick on his cut to the slant. He beats the defender across his face and immediately gets vertical after the catch for a big gain.
Target #14: Complete, Touchdown
His final target of the day was his biggest play of the season. We mentioned in a previous article (Breakdown of Boyd's Targets versus Pittsburgh) that teams have had success against Arizona running variations of the "Yankee" Concept (Deep Post with a Deep Over route) off of play-action.
Here Boyd is to the right of the offensive formation and is running the post route. He does a great job beating his cover defender at the line of scrimmage by using a single jab to a speed release, eventually working to stack his defender.
The important part of the route is that he gets his shoulders and hips square, presenting himself as a two-way threat (can break either direction) to the safety. At the top of his route, he gives a slight lean to the outside to move the safety, before breaking it back inside; look at all the open grass as the corner from this side of the field is chasing the over the route. A great route by Boyd in a huge moment.
It was nice to see Boyd's emotions on display after that game-tying touchdown. Being 0-5 is tough, and can wear players down. It reveals true character when players continue to play hard, and fight to win; rather than check it in.
The Bengals have a divisional game this week versus the Ravens. Although the Ravens rank near the bottom of the league in team pass defense, they do have some talented players in the back end. A game in which the Bengals are expected to be trailing, Boyd should get a significant amount of targets once again.