Chase Claypool may have finally received his long-awaited, much-needed wake-up call last night against the Vikings.
The Steelers had mounted a comeback that left them down by only eight points after trailing by 22 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They’re driving and they’ve made it into Vikings territory. Ben Roethlisberger completes a throw to Claypool for a first down, and with the clock running at under 40 seconds left, the wide receiver proceeded to waste several seconds (read: one extra play attempt) by celebrating in a move that very well may have cost Pittsburgh the game.
In what seemed to be just a complete lack of any situational awareness, Claypool didn’t hand the ball to an offensive lineman who was trying to hustle up so that the Steelers could spike the ball and stop the clock, seeing as they had no timeouts left, but instead took the time to posture, outstretching his left arm to signal a first down. There were 37 seconds left on the clock when the play was over, and it was down to 24 seconds by the time Big Ben was able to spike.
The Vikings won 36-28.
Updated on Dec. 10 at 3:42 p.m. EST: Here’s how Claypool explained his nonsense after the game:
“Definitely gotta be better,” Claypool said. “I got tackled near the hash, did my little first-down point and went to hand the ball to the ref. He had just got there. So, even if I got right up and looked for him, he wasn’t there. He ran down the field to come get the ball. The ball got knocked out of my hands. That’s what cost us time. But I definitely do have to be better. I knew the situation.”
Yeah the ball got knocked out of you hands because Steelers guard Trai Turner was trying to take it from you because you were busy posturing. And if you knew the situation, why are you bothering to point?
The receiver had been benched by Mike Tomlin earlier in the game after an unnecessary roughness penalty (on offense — that’s a rarity) after shoving his finger into the face of a Vikings defensive player literally three feet from the refs. Again — situational awareness, Chase! Despite being second in receiving yards for Pittsburgh, with 47 catches for 753 yards, Claypool has come under fire from fans in the past for his celebrations, which seem to happen after every single catch he makes no matter the score. Yesterday’s shenanigans took it a step further and may have cost his team the game.
I really liked watching Claypool at Notre Dame and was glad to see him drafted by the Steelers 49th overall in 2020. At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, he has a near-perfect build for an NFL wide receiver, but as Ryan Clark put it on ESPN this morning, “Chase Claypool is as mentally and emotionally underdeveloped as he is physically overdeveloped. This is a dude that has all the things you need from a physical standpoint to be a superstar (receiver). He has a remedial level mental understanding of what it is to be a football player and of what it is to be a good teammate.”
But he’s right. Tomlin has to be fed up with Claypool’s antics no matter how talented of a player he is. And Roethlisberger is definitely getting fed up with the situation. He told the press, “dealing with players’ issues, that’s the coach’s job, not mine,” which definitely seems like some shade being thrown Tomlin’s way for not being able to get Claypool under control. Most of the time, celebrations are harmless, if annoying, but then all of a sudden you find yourself in this two-minute drill and your wide receiver won’t give the ref the damn ball. Hard to bench a solid player, but I’m starting to wonder if Tomlin will do it to make a point, or “teach him a lesson,” if you will. He’s been penalized 8 times this season — for context, no other NFL wide receiver has more than 5 penalties under their belt right now.
But on the bright side, Twitter pulled through (as always) with the memes so that we could all share a good laugh.