Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd says Pittsburgh Steelers 'gave up' late in loss

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has never hesitated to be honest.

So in his Monday news conference following the team's 24-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Boyd was blunt when assessing how the Steelers finished the game at Heinz Field.

"The last plays of the game for them, they gave up," Boyd said. "You could see it. They had three drops in a row."

The veteran Bengals receiver was referencing the Steelers' final offensive drive of the game, in which rookie running back Najee Harris and wide receiver Chase Claypool alternated dropped catches in the team's final three offensive plays. Cincinnati took over, kneeled twice and ran out the clock for its second straight win over the Steelers and first in Pittsburgh since 2015.

Cincinnati led by as many as 17 points in the second half and was in control for most of the game, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told reporters after the game.

"We just played poorly and got beat," Tomlin said.

Boyd, who went to college at Pitt and went to high school in nearby Clairton, Pennsylvania, said the Bengals wouldn't have acted in a similar situation. In 2019, Boyd played through a cramp in the final seconds of a Week 16 game against the Dolphins, when a loss would clinch the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft for Cincinnati. Boyd made it to the line of scrimmage, which allowed the Bengals to tie the game on a Hail Mary on the final play of regulation. Cincinnati eventually lost the game in overtime.

The Steelers, Boyd said, did not have the same demeanor against the Bengals on Sunday.

"They portrayed to the whole nation, on TV, what they were about and how they gave up," Boyd said.

The Bengals, one of the NFL's worst teams in recent years, own a two-game winning streak over the Steelers. Before last year's upset win by the Bengals on Monday Night Football, the Steelers had won the previous 11 meetings, including a 2015 playoff meeting.

Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton, who was previously with the Steelers before signing with Cincinnati in free agency, said he believes the momentum in the rivalry with Pittsburgh has shifted.

"We wanted to make a statement, not just to the AFC North but around the league, that we're here and ready to play," Hilton said.