Chase Claypool may have finally gotten his long-awaited and much-needed wake up call last night against Vikings.
The Steelers had made a comeback that left them just eight points down after falling 22 early in the fourth quarter. They are driving and have entered the territory of the Vikings. Ben Roethlisberger completes a shot at Claypool for a first down, and with the clock running less than 40 seconds left, the wide receiver wasted several seconds (read: one more play attempt) celebrating in a move that could Pittsburgh the game.
In what appeared to be just a complete lack of situational awareness, Claypool didn’t pass the ball to an offensive lineman who was trying to rush so the Steelers could dunk the ball and stop time, as they had no left timeouts, but instead he took the time to strike a pose, extending his left arm to signal a first down. The clock was 37 seconds away when the game was over, and it had dropped to 24 seconds when Big Ben was able to rise.
The Vikings won 36-28.
The catcher had been benched by Mike Tomlin early in the match after an unnecessary roughness penalty (in attack – this is a rarity) after thrusting his finger in the face of a Vikings defender literally three feet from the referees. Again: situational awareness, Chase! Despite being second in yards received for Pittsburgh, with 47 holds for 753 yards, Claypool has been targeted by fans in the past for his celebrations, which seem to happen after every single trick he makes, regardless of the score. Yesterday’s cheating took it a step further and could have cost his team the game.
I really enjoyed watching Claypool at Notre Dame and was delighted to see him enlisted by the 49th Steelers overall in 2020. At 6ft-4, 240lbs, he has a near-perfect build for an NFL wide receiver, but like Ryan Clark he has. put on ESPN this morning, “Chase Claypool is mentally and emotionally underdeveloped as well as physically overdeveloped. This is a guy who has all the things you need physically to be a superstar (receiver). He has a corrective mental understanding of what it means to be a football player and what it means to be a good teammate. “
But he is right. Tomlin must be fed up with Claypool’s antics no matter how talented he is as a player. And Roethlisberger is decidedly fed up with the situation. He told the press, “addressing player problems, that’s the manager’s job, not mine,” which definitely looks like a shadow being cast on Tomlin’s path for not being able to keep Claypool in check. Most of the time, the celebrations are harmless, albeit annoying, but then all of a sudden you find yourself in this two-minute drill and your wide receiver won’t give the damn ball to the referee. Difficult to bench a solid player, but I’m starting to wonder if Tomlin will do it to score a point, or “teach him a lesson” if you like. 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 out (as always) memes so we could all share a good laugh.