Zac Taylor: Bengals' wide receivers 'got bullied' in loss to Pats

CINCINNATI -- Bengals coach Zac Taylor wasn't thrilled with how Cincinnati's wide receivers fared against the New England Patriots in a 34-13 loss Sunday. And at least one of those receivers wasn't necessarily happy with Taylor.

After Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw four interceptions in the blowout defeat, Taylor placed the bulk of the blame on the wideouts.

"Three of them were against man-to-man coverage, one-on-ones," Taylor said. "And we got bullied. We did. Guys could go compete, knock the ball down, go get a one-on-one [ball]."

In turn, Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd, who was targeted on two of those interceptions, was critical of the game plan and scheme against New England. Boyd, who finished with three catches for 26 yards, said the method of attack wasn't "top-notch" like it normally is. When asked to elaborate, Boyd was blunt.

"What did it look like out there?" Boyd said. "Did it look like anything was working?"

The comments aren't necessarily out of character for Taylor or Boyd during Cincinnati's 1-13 season. Taylor has lamented the inability of the receivers to create separation throughout the season. Boyd stumped for more targets during rookie Ryan Finley's three-game stint as the starting quarterback. And both men were understandably frustrated after what was a close game in the first half turned into a rout.

After Sunday's game, Boyd said he should have received more than his team-high seven targets despite being covered by New England's Stephon Gilmore, who had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Boyd gave Gilmore credit for the two turnovers but said he felt he got open on roughly 70% of his routes on Sunday.

"If you want to justify that he shut me down on those two plays, that's cool," said Boyd, the Bengals' leading receiver this season. "It's whatever. But if you go watch the tape, you'll see."

Taylor said Boyd and Alex Erickson could have done a better job of fighting for the ball and causing incompletions at the very least. On Gilmore's 64-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter, Boyd said he would have preferred a slant route instead of one toward the sideline, where Gilmore had the edge.

But Boyd and Taylor softened on their criticism the longer they talked Sunday. While Boyd was unhappy with his role, he said he didn't want to cause a stir, especially this late in the season.

"Two more games left, I mean, I ain't tripping," Boyd said. "I ain't stressing over it. I would like to win, absolutely. But I'm not going to go cause any trouble. They did a great job this whole year of scheming me up, getting me open and getting me the ball. But today just wasn't that."

Taylor was also asked about his criticism of the receivers as a whole throughout the season. His tone softened as he talked about a season that has been rough for the entire franchise.

"It's a group that this is important to them," Taylor said. "And they're trying to do everything we're asking them to do and go make plays for us. Today was just a tough day in that area."