(Screenshot of Chase Claypool's first-down point)
To say the least, Chase Claypool had a rough game against the Vikings on Thursday night. Despite finishing the game with eight receptions for 93 yards that included a specular grab down the right sideline for 38 yards on the Steelers' last drive. No one remembers that because Claypool made a fool of himself by celebrating a first down with 36 seconds left and the Steelers trailing by eight points with no timeouts ...
The mishap ended up costing the Steelers at least 10 seconds because Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks made a savvy veteran move by knocking the ball out of Claypool's hands while right guard Trai Turner tried to get the ball from Claypool so Roethlisberger could spike it.
The Steelers lost to the Vikings, 36-28, after coming back from a 29-point deficit in the second half. The final play of the game was a pass breakup by strong safety Harrison Smith on Pat Freiermuth in the end zone. If it wasn't for Claypool's mindless and selfish act, the Steelers would have had at least one more play. Maybe even two. Seriously, where is the awareness from Claypool? He didn't take full responsibility either for the mess he created either.
"Yeah, um, you know, I definitely got to be better. I got tackled near the hash, did my little first-down point," Claypool said via Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports. "Went to hand the ball to the ref. He had just gotten there. So, even if I got right up and looked for him, he wasn’t there. So he ran down the field to come get the ball, and the ball got knocked out of my hands. That’s what cost us time. But I definitely do have to be better."
Claypool was upset with Kendricks for knocking the ball loose, but if he didn't do his "little first-down point" Turner wouldn't have run to get the ball and Kendricks wouldn't have had the opportunity to pull off the crafty move.
Claypool has been ripped and mocked extensively from all corners in the last couple of days. The most notable criticism came from former Steelers free safety Ryan Clark, who said Claypool is "mentally and emotionally underdeveloped as he is physically overdeveloped.”
“This is a dude that has all of the things you need from a physical standpoint to be a superstar wide receiver,” Clark continued. “He has remedial level mental understanding of what it is to be a football player, of what it is to be a good teammate, of what it is to be a winner.
“You weren’t looking for the referee; you weren’t looking for the hash,” said Clark. “He only cares about himself and that self-centeredness is part of what’s bringing the Pittsburgh Steelers team and organization down.”
Former Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel also tweeted a clever remark about Claypool. "Way back in 2014 when I was playing ... Tick Tock was spelled this way and meant the clock was running. Time flies."
The first-down point by Claypool wasn't his only mistake in the game, as he also was called for unnecessary roughness, nearly lost a fumble, and missed a block that resulted in Najee Harris being tackled in the backfield on third-and-1. Claypool was called for unnecessary roughness because he shoved Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland in the helmet. The undisciplined act cause Mike Tomlin to bench Claypool for a brief period. Claypool leads all wide receivers in penalties this season with eight.
It should also be mentioned that after the Bengals 41-10 beatdown on the Steelers in Week 12, Claypool suggested that music at practice might help the Steelers practice better. So, as you can see, Claypool just overall lacks awareness and common sense. Add it all up and it's been a disappointing season for Claypool, who has just one touchdown reception. This comes on the heels of a rookie season where he had nine touchdown receptions and two rushing touchdowns.
Claypool has a ton of talent, but I really think he got conceited after his impressive rookie season. He's been caught up in his brand too much. Making money outside of football is certainly fine and all, but it should take a backseat to football. Let's just hope Claypool has learned from this embarrassment and he retires his little first-down point, especially when there's 36 second left and the Steelers are trailing by eight points with no timeouts left ...