Claypool Says Steelers Knew They ‘Couldn’t Play Safe’ On Final Drive

While he’s gotten a lot of flack for how he’s performed so far this season, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool was instrumental in helping the Steelers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-18 today. He had seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Claypool talked after the game about the poise of Mitch Trubisky.

“Mitch [Trubisky] started the season with that, so we had that confidence in him, that timing with him. So, it wasn’t like we had to figure things out. We were calling the same plays. Hats off to him because he was very poised, and he did his thing,” Claypool said via an official transcript provided by the team.

Trubisky came in, and after some initial failure to move the ball led a touchdown drive, and he and Claypool connected on two completions to get conversions on 3rd and 15 and 3rd and 11 on the team’s final drive. Claypool talked about the urgency on that drive, with Tampa Bay still having timeouts to use and Tom Brady on the other sideline.

“Especially with Tom [Brady] on the other side, we couldn’t play safe. We had to go try to score and that was the mentality. We couldn’t run the clock out, they had too many timeouts, so that was kind of our mindset.”

After an eight-yard run by Najee Harris to make it 2nd and 2, Mason Cole had a bad snap and Trubisky and the Steelers were forced into a 3rd and 15. After all the momentum of Devin Bush’s pass breakup on the two-point conversion to maintain the Steelers’ two-point lead, the reality of a potential three-and-out and punting it back to Tom Brady was beginning to set in. However, Trubisky hit Claypool, and he got just enough for the first down. Later in the drive, Pittsburgh was facing a 3rd and 11 at their own 36 with 2:15 to go. Trubisky extended the play and looked Claypool’s way again, and he made a really impressive catch down the sideline to keep Pittsburgh’s drive alive. One first down later, and the game was over.

Claypool came up clutch, which isn’t something that I think a lot of Steelers fans expected. Certainly, waking up today no one expected Trubisky-Claypool x2 to be the key to Pittsburgh’s final drive. It was though, and it speaks to the idea of guys staying ready and waiting for their chance.

Trubisky struggled early in the season, but he never really got down, stayed involved, and was key to the win today. Claypool hasn’t been involved very much, and he’s made more headlines for his lack of effort/execution on plays than actually making them. But today, when he was called upon, he delivered. That’s what has to happen to win in the NFL, especially as underdogs. It was good to see those two guys step up to the plate today.

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