One of the key matchups with be rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin against Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown. At first glance, the matchup appears to favor Brown–and he agrees.
Brown called Boykin “a candy bar” that the Steelers will eat up when the two teams play on Sunday at Heinz Field.
“That’s the candy bar,” Brown told the Washington (Pa.) Observer-Reporter. “He’s given up a lot of plays. Whoever gets that guy definitely has to take advantage.”
Brown is definitely right. Boykin has had his share of struggles over the past couple of weeks. Then again, they have come against two of the five best receivers in the National Football League—Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals and Victor Cruz of the New York Giants.
But in the first two weeks he played extremely well, especially when the Eagles stopped Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens in the final minute of their week two victory. The image of Boykin leaping several feet into the air to knock down a pass at midfield is one that stands as one of the signature plays for the Eagles this season.
Boykin handled Brown’s comments pretty well.
“I guess that’s an insult, huh?” Boykin said with a smile. “Maybe he really does feel that way about me. I really don’t know much about him, but I’m not going to let him get me out of my game, if that was his purpose. I’m just going to go out there and do my job, like I do every week.
“I feel like I’ve done pretty good,” he said. “Definitely have a lot of things I can improve on. But I’ve been guarding great receivers since the season started. Anquan Boldin to Larry Fitzgerald to Victor Cruz. So it’s just continue to fight each and every week.
“Of course, I’m going to get balls caught on me. Every corner does. But at the end of the day, as long as you’re being productive and you’re stopping them from scoring and you’re winning games, that’s all you can ask.”
“They have good receivers,” Boykin added, “but every team has good receivers and every week is a different challenge. No matter what happens, no matter what anybody says, I’ll be ready for it.”
Boykin better be on top of his game on Sunday if the Eagles want to escape with a victory. Brown caught 69 passes for 1108 yards and two touchdowns last season. The numbers against Boykin this season are as follows: 11 of 22 for 144 yards and a touchdown. He’s deflected three passes and he’s allowed a passer rating of 86.2.
The Eagles (3-1) are looking to jump out to a 4-1 record for just the third time in the Andy Reid era. It happened in 2004 when the Eagles started 7-0 and advanced to the Super Bowl, and in 2006, when the Eagles finished 10-6 and won the NFC East title.