The Pittsburgh Steelers had perhaps their most successful day of offense thus far this season earlier today, certainly in a win, though with a 20-point total, it’s still not saying much. But significant progress was made in many areas, including the first touchdown by a wide receiver—in Week 6.
That one went to the beleaguered Chase Claypool, the third-year veteran, who had an excellent game, particularly in the second half, showing a great connection with quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who had to finish the game after Kenny Pickett was ruled out with a concussion. That gave the Steelers a 20-12 lead and the needed margin of victory. But will it open the floodgates for more wide receiver scoring?
“Yeah, definitely. It should”, Trubisky said after the game, via the team’s website. “I know they want touchdowns. We want touchdowns, too. Hopefully it just shows us what we’re capable of and we can continue to do more of it”.
Trubisky finished the game completing nine of 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, though his longest play went to tight end Connor Heyward for 45 yards. Claypool ended up with 96 yards on seven catches and the score, including multiple conversions on third down of very long distances.
“The big thing is just continuing to practice hard”, Trubisky stressed, even noting that the touchdown to Claypool was a play they ran in practice a good amount—but not with himself. “Making sure we’re going hard in practice, getting down the details and making sure it translates to the game”.
“We ran that play in practice a bunch. I didn’t get a rep at it, but I knew where he was gonna be on the spot and he did exactly his job, and that’s how you make plays”.
Diontae Johnson caught eight touchdowns last year. Claypool had nine during his rookie season in 2020. These are players who are capable of finding the end zone, certainly. But there were only two passing touchdowns by the offense in the first five weeks—one to running back Najee Harris, who had another today, and one to tight end Pat Freiermuth.
It’s just about “being on the same page with the guys”, Trubisky stressed, adding, “We’ve just got to continue to pull together and make plays like that, and hopefully it does open the floodgates for the receivers. We’ve got a talented group, and we’ve got to get them in the end zone and continue to get better”.
The offense has shown gradual signs of starting up in recent weeks, starting to click more and more, even though they have struggled to finish drives. The biggest thing that they must try to do is eliminate the negative plays that kill their drives, including penalties. That was another issue even today, but they ultimately scored enough, with the defense holding up its end of the bargain, to come out on top this time.