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Chase Claypool After Clutch Performance: ‘I Want To Be The Guy Who Can Be Counted On’

There is always a player or two every season that the fanbase wants to see its team trade. Somebody about whom the popular belief is that he is not living up to his potential—yet whom another team should take the risk on in the hopes of getting out of him what their team is not.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have at least two of those players this year in quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who has already been demoted, and third-year wide receiver Chase Claypool. Yet the duo perhaps not authored but certainly sealed the team’s win yesterday over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Trubisky was only in the game because starting rookie Kenny Pickett was knocked out of the game due to a concussion in the middle of the third quarter, but he played very well in relief, and Claypool was his most beneficial recipient—particularly at key moments, as the duo came through a few times on third down with very long distances.

Some of them were great throws or reads. Some of them were great catches. All of them were critical and essential and not easy to do. This was the sort of game that Claypool—and the team’s fans—had been waiting for him to have for a while. And he doesn’t take it lightly.

“I want to be the guy who can be counted on in those situations”, he told reporters in the locker room following his big day, via the team’s website. “Any time I get an opportunity, it’s an honor to make those plays, to have the opportunity”.

The third-year man finished the day with seven catches on seven targets for 96 yards and one touchdown, the first touchdown by any wide receiver on the year. His 96 yards are the second-highest total for a Steeler this season behind George Pickens, the rookie second-round pick, who had a 100-yard game a couple weeks back.

Himself a second-round pick back in 2020, Claypool came on like gangbusters as a rookie, many ready to anoint him as the next great Steelers receiver. He caught 62 passes that year for 873 yards and nine receiving touchdowns, and he also had another two rushing touchdowns.

His 2021 season disappointed pretty much everybody, however. Even though his reception and yardage numbers were similar, he only scored twice, and he seemed to less consistently capitalize on the opportunities he was given, failing to come up with plays—particularly combat catches—that were expected of him.

Truth be told, the first five games of this season had not exactly been an improvement. He came into yesterday with just 16 receptions for 129 yards, putting him on a pace for a 54-catch, 439-yard season. After yesterday’s game, his trajectory now translates to 65 catches for 638 yards. Not a seismic change, but if this marks a turning of the tide, he can quickly rewrite his story, and the narrative about him, which wouldn’t be a bad idea considering the table he set for himself.

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