2020 South Side Questions: Will Chase Claypool Threaten Franchise Single-Season Touchdown Record?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will Chase Claypool threaten the Steelers’ single-season touchdown record?

Rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has nine touchdowns in nine games played. He caught his sixth and seventh receiving touchdowns on Sunday from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Cincinnati Bengals, and in addition to that, he has two rushing touchdowns.

The Steelers’ franchise record for touchdowns scored in a single season is owned by running back Willie Parker, who in 2006 rushed for 13 touchdowns and scored another three touchdowns on receptions during the 2006 season over 16 games.

With seven games remaining and averaging one touchdown per game, Claypool would be on pace to tie that record, but any pace that puts somebody on track to tie or break a record is one that is going to be difficult to sustain—since that pace has only been kept once before.

While he has scored nine touchdowns, he has four games this season in which he hasn’t scored. He also has two multi-touchdown games, including Sunday’s, and of course the Philadelphia Eagles game from earlier in the season in which he tied a franchise record with four touchdowns in a single game.

With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger trending toward breaking his own franchise record for touchdown passes by a comfortable margin, though, it is conceivable that Claypool could keep scoring on this pace. In 2018, when Roethlisberger threw for the current record of 34 touchdowns, it coincided with wide receiver Antonio Brown breaking his own receiving touchdown record with 15. As it is, he is just two scores away from tying the team’s rookie scoring record of 11.

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