The Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-time single-season touchdown record is 16, a record that belongs to running back Willie Parker, who recorded 13 rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns one season about a decade and a half ago. Former wide receiver Antonio Brown put pressure on that two years ago, scoring 15 touchdowns in 15 games, but he was benched for the finale and would never play for the team again.
Nobody came even remotely close the record in 2019 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the field—nobody even had double digits, mind you—but 10 games into the 2020 season, we have to be on the watch for rookie second-round wide receiver Chase Claypool, who has had a rather successful season to date.
He came into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars having scored nine touchdowns in his first nine games after catching two touchdown passes the week before against the Cincinnati Bengals, giving him seven receiving touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, tied for the most touchdowns by a wide receiver in their first nine career games.
Claypool got his 10th touchdown of the year in the middle of the second quarter when Roethlisberger was able to find him down the right sideline for a 31-yard score. That put the Steelers up 10-3 at the time, and kept the rookie at his pace of one score per game.
— Steelers Depot 🦃 (@Steelersdepot) November 22, 2020
That is the most touchdowns by a rookie receiver through his first 10 games in the Super Bowl era. It’s the second-most in NFL history, trailing Billy Howton with 11 for the Packers in 1952, and tied with Harlon Hill of the Bears (1954) and Bill Groman of the Oilers (1960).
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) November 22, 2020
By the end of the day, the rookie would finish with four receptions for 59 yards and the score. It wasn’t his flashiest game by any means, and there were a couple of balls down the field that he arguably could or should have made a play on—one bounced off of his facemask—despite contact. He did draw a pass interference penalty or two.
His eighth touchdown reception is the most by any Steelers receiver in a single season other than Antonio Brown since Martavis Bryant also caught eight in 2014, which was also his rookie year. His 10 total touchdowns are the most by any Steelers receiver other than Brown since Jerricho Cotchery caught 10 touchdown passes in 2013.
Claypool now has six games to go to add to his total. He is one score away from tying the Steelers’ rookie record for the most receiving touchdowns in a season. He is also one away from tying the team’s rookie touchdown record at 11, currently jointly held by Franco Harris and Louis Lipps.