Boyd had only one catch for zero yards in the Bengals' 17-10 loss at Oakland, Cincinnati's 10th defeat in as many games this season. The fourth-year receiver was targeted a mere three times, his fewest amount since 2017.
With star wide receiver A.J. Green sidelined all season with an ankle injury, Boyd has been the primary target. But in rookie quarterback Ryan Finley's second career start, Boyd was a nonfactor and uncharacteristically unhappy about his usage.
"I feel like I'm the go-to guy with A.J. down," Boyd said. "I felt like [my] targets were not where they should have been. I feel that I'm a game-changer and I could have utilized my talents in any way to move the chains, and nothing was coming my way."
Boyd, who signed a new four-year, $43 million deal this offseason, was specifically frustrated about not getting the ball on a fourth-and-4 at Oakland's 27-yard line. Finley opted to throw to rookie Damion Willis, who was double-covered in the end zone. The pass was incomplete.
Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said it wasn't a bad read by Finley, who was 13-of-31 passing for 115 yards and an interception. However, Callahan also conceded Boyd was open.
Boyd said Monday he understands that quarterback is the toughest position to play and that Finley is inexperienced, but pointed to other rookies around the league enjoying success. He said it shouldn't take long to build trust with Finley.
"The way I'm playing, the level that I bring, I believe I get open in any one-on-one coverage across the board against anyone," Boyd said. "All you gotta do is just read the defense. If he sees he has me, just gotta put it there, and I'm going to make a play for him."
Boyd was also frustrated about not being lined up enough on the outside and the uncertainty of when to come down to block safeties, saying the main discussion in Monday's meetings was more about run blocking than running routes. Bengals coach Zac Taylor met with Boyd on Monday and understood his frustration regarding his usage.
"He's certainly one of our best players, so we've gotta get him more involved," Taylor said.
Taylor has lamented Cincinnati's inability to get open. On Sunday, Boyd was the team's only wide receiver who averaged more than two yards of separation on his targets, according to NFL Next Gen. Boyd is 402 yards shy of notching back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
While he noted the milestone is important to any receiver, that's not the main reason he was frustrated on Monday. He went as far as to say he wouldn't want to go to the Pro Bowl if the Bengals continue to lose or finish with a winless record.
"I don't feel like that's an achievement that they should give me," Boyd said. "It's really not about stats. It's about me wanting to make plays, wanting them to trust me, wanting them to throw me the ball so I can help get a win."
And while he is upset about the lack of looks in his direction on Monday, he said he will not beg Taylor and Callahan to force-feed him the ball. Given the state of the offense and the lack of options at receiver, it should be implied.
"I mean, I just feel like what's understood doesn't need to be explained," Boyd said. "I'm not the type of player that's going to go and tell them to throw me the ball, force me the ball and get it done, regardless if that's what's going in my mind. But I know they see it, and I know that they know I'm a reliable guy."