“I was guarding him and he was supposed to get the screen so I got my chance to hit him,” said Boykin. “Every play I wanted to hit him but it didn’t happen that way, so it’s all good.”
Following the play — which never got off the ground because of a bad snap — the two stood facemask-to-facemask and were jawing at one another, with a little shoving mixed in. Earlier in the week, Brown suggested that the Steelers would pick on the rookie corner. He referred to Boykin as “The Candy Bar.”
“He shut up after that,” said Boykin of the hit. “It was all pregame talk, whatever, when the pads come on everybody’s got to play.”
Boykin did cover Brown some, though the responsibility often fell to Nnamdi Asomugha.
“For the majority of the plays I would be on 84, not every play,” said Asomugha. “We knew that he was their guy that runs every single route that they have. And they try to feed him with screens and that type of stuff. Seventeen [Mike Wallace] was more the straight downfield guy. So I knew the action was going to come — I think we all knew it — and it was just competing.”
Brown ended with seven grabs for 86 yards, including a key 20-yard pick-up on third down on the Steelers’ final drive. Boykin was the closest defender to Brown on that play, though the defense was in a zone concept.
“I wasn’t going to let that get me out of my game,” said Boykin of the midweek trash-talking. “Eighty-four didn’t do anything I didn’t expect him to do. He didn’t do anything special, as well as their other receivers. They caught passes but we defended as well. It was a tight game. We have a lot of stuff that we need to get better at, a lot of things that we are going to get better at, and we’ll become a great team.”