The Steelers’ Versions Of Jack Suwinski (Rookies With Three Touchdowns In One Game)

It doesn’t happen often but yesterday was pretty cool to be a Pittsburgh Pirates’ fan. Rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski hit three home runs, including a walk-off bomb over the Clemente Wall, to beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3. He became only the second Pirates’ rookie with three dingers in one game, joining Andrew McCutchen and reportedly became the first rookie in MLB history – they’ve been playing a long time – to hit three home runs in one game, including the walk-off blast.

So it got me to thinking. Who are the Pittsburgh Steelers’ equivalents? Rookies with three touchdowns in one game. Turns out there are four of them. And we’ll revisit them today.

Chase Claypool (2020) – Four Touchdowns Beats The Eagles

The most recent example, Claypool did Suwinski and the other three Steelers’ on this list with four touchdowns. Three receiving and one rushing, the latter coming as his first score of the game, a two yard touchdown off jet action. Claypool’s first receiving touchdown came early in the second quarter, 32 yards from Ben Roethlisberger, with a five-yard score early in the third.

But his fourth touchdown was the biggest, a 35-yard grab wide open down the seam to beat an Eagles’ blown coverage. It sealed the Steelers win in a previously close game and cemented one of the best performances by a Steelers’ rookie.


Claypool became the league’s first rookie with four touchdowns in one game since RB Jonas Gray in 2014 and the first wide receiver since Jerry Butler in 1979. It will be a long time before someone matches Claypool mark. We might not see it for 50 years.

Eric Green (1990) – Three Scores Against The Broncos

Green was one of the NFL’s first “move” tight ends, a big receiver aligned as a tight end. A small-school first round pick out of Liberty back when the Steelers did that kind of things, Green had a productive rookie season. But no performance was better than Week 6 against the Broncos. He had only four catches but made them count, finding the end zone three times. All three scores came in the second half as Pittsburgh rallied and turned a 17-7 deficit into a 34-17 win. Green scored the final two touchdowns of the day, catching passes from Bubby Brister from ten and three yards out.

Here’s his second score, showcasing his size and the difficulty DBs had bringing him down.


Green had seven touchdowns his rookie year and five of them came over two games. Three in this one and two the week before.

Franco Harris (1972) – Lots of Yards, Three Touchdowns To Run Over Buffalo

Until Najee Harris came along, the other Harris – Franco – had the Steelers’ best statistical rookie year and Franco was far more efficient. Harris had his coming out party two weeks earlier but his best performance in ’72 came against the Bills. He needed just 15 carries to run for 138 yards, over nine yards per carry, with two rushing scores. His only reception of the day also found the end zone from 17 yards out.

Harris went toe for toe with O.J. Simpson and though The Juice had the better day, 194 yards on the ground, Harris’ three scores propelled Pittsburgh over the Bills. Here’s one of his muddy runs in excellent definition. Love this clip.


Fun fact. Harris would go on to have only one other regular season three-touchdown game the rest of his career and the second didn’t come until 1979. He did, however, have a three-score game in the 1974 playoffs, which also came against the Bills. Buffalo was good to Franco.

Jimmy Orr (1958) – The First To Do It

Orr is a worthy name who gets lost in those lackluster pre-Noll days. And he had one of the best rookie campaigns the Steelers have ever seen. In 1958, he led the league by averaging 27.6 yards per catch, an incredible number even for the era. To date, he has the highest yards per catch of any player with 30+ receptions in a season in NFL history, rookie or not.

Orr capped off his rookie season in style with a six-catch, 205 yard, three touchdown outing to beat the Chicago Cardinals. For those scoring at home, that’s 34.2 yards per reception and Orr’s touchdowns went for 17, 36, and 72 yards. The long ball came from HB Tom Tracy, not even QB Bobby Layne.

It was an offensive explosion and according to the PPG, the longest game in Steelers’ history, taking two hours, 57 minutes from start to finish. A mighty quick game by today’s standards. And one Orr dominated.

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