Consider Tyler Boyd the missing link — he certainly does.
The Bengals receiver, injured in the second quarter of Cincinatti’s 23-20 AFC championship loss to the Chiefs last season, believes he could have been the difference-maker.
“Still to this day, I feel like if I would have played the whole game, I was the key factor,” he told reporters on Tuesday, his first day of offseason workouts. “We would’ve won the game.”
Boyd seemingly suffered a deep thigh bruise after a 24-yard catch, ending his day with 40 yards on a pair of catches.
Boyd tried numbing cream and ibuprofen to help the pain, but it didn’t work well enough to get him back on the field.
With Boyd sidelined, Kansas City defenders were more easily able to cover Bengals receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
“I just felt like we had enough depth for guys like [Trenton Irwin] and other guys to come in and play at a faster pace than what I felt like I could do,” he said. “I wish I was able to do it, but things happen.”
Boyd, entering the final year of his contract as the longest-tenured player on the team, has been with Cincinatti throughout its turnaround from the league’s worst record in 2019, coming aboard as a 2016 draft pick.
“They love me in the front [office],” Boyd said. “They respect me. I go about things the right way. I come in with a great attitude each and every day. I don’t complain as much. I go out there and do my job. It’s a love, family thing.”
The 28-year-old ranks fifth in Bengals history for catches (446) and ninth in receiving yards (5,333), and would love to continue to climb the franchise ranks — and maybe add some hardware to their trophy case.
“I just want to win, and that’s the biggest evolution of coming here and starting here and being where I am,” Boyd said. “We are a winning franchise now and we are going to continue to win. We are getting better.”