The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-10 on Sunday, improving to 2-1 on the year, and on Monday, Cincy wideout Tyler Boyd told reporters the Steelers waved the white flag down the stretch.
"The last plays of the game for them, they gave up," he said. "You could see it. They had three drops in a row."
Joe Danneman @FOX19Joe
Tyler Boyd on Steelers: "Not only did the Steelers feel that, everybody in the country felt it. Because the last plays in the game for them, they gave up."<br><br>Full quote from the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bengals?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bengals</a> wide receiver. <a href="https://t.co/3nJLidLkUN">pic.twitter.com/3nJLidLkUN</a>
"They portrayed to the whole nation, on TV, what they were about and how they gave up," he added.
Boyd was referencing Najee Harris' two drops and Chase Claypool's drop on Pittsburgh's final drive.
The Bengals have now won two in a row over the Steelers, though since 2010, the Steelers were a whopping 19-3 in the rivalry and hold a 67-37 all-time edge in the series. The Steelers have also won their division 10 times in the 21st century.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, haven't had a winning season since 2015, when it last won the AFC North, one of four divisional titles for the team in the past 20 years.
So the Steelers might point to those numbers in response to the shots Boyd took at them. But it's also clear the Bengals (2-1) feel a changing-of-the-guard might be taking place in the rivalry.
And why not? The Bengals (2-1) have an exciting young core, especially on offense, led by Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Boyd.
Meanwhile, the Steelers (1-2) have a fearsome defense but an offense led by 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger, who looked well past his prime on Sunday (38-of-58 for 318 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, four sacks).
Or as NBC Sports' Rodney Harrison put it on Football Night in America, Big Ben looked "extremely old."
"Out with the old, in with the new" might be the mantra in Cincy these days. Certainly, Boyd feels as though Pittsburgh showed signs of conceding on Sunday, and saying so publicly should only ramp up the intensity in the second meeting between the teams. The Bengals host Pittsburgh in Week 12.