On Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-3 to move to 10-0. After the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked whether he was feeling inspired by the “energy” of his young wide receiver corps.
“Absolutely,” said the 38-year-old quarterback, now in the midst of his 17th NFL season. “They are a fun young group. I enjoy working with them. I enjoy communicating with them at night through videos and texts and things like that. I joke that they keep me young, but they really are a selfless group that really believes in each other. They are genuinely happy for each other and they just want to win football games. I am blessed to have such a fun skill group.”
JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Birthday (Touchdown) Celebration
That fun-loving spirit was on display Sunday, especially after rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool scored his tenth touchdown of the season on a 31-yard pass from Roethlisberger. The skill position guys gathered in the end zone to punctuate the TD by “celebrating” WR JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 24th birthday.
Even the haters agree that it was an inspired touchdown celebration.
Of course, all the winning helps everyone remain positive, as does the fact that all of Pittsburgh’s core skill position guys are getting a chance to contribute in a significant way.
Consider how balanced the production is among the team’s top 5 receiving options.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, 24, has 58 catches for 535 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Diontae Johnson, 24, has 49 catches for 537 yards and four TDs.
Chase Claypool, 22, has 39 receptions for 559 yards and eight receiving touchdowns.
Tight end Eric Ebron, 27, has 35 catches for 359 yards and four TDs.
And James Washington, 24, has 21 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
Steelers Rookie WR in Rare Company
Chase Claypool’s performance has been especially notable. In fact, on Sunday the second-round pick out of Notre Dame became the first wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to score at least 10 touchdowns in his first 10 NFL games.
He’s only the fourth receiver to accomplish that feat in the history of the NFL/AFL, on a short list that also includes Bill Groman (1960), Harlon Hill (1954) and Billy Howton (1952).
Yet Roethlisberger knows the Steelers still have a long way to go to reach their goal of winning the Super Bowl—and also recognizes that the team’s offense hasn’t reached its potential or played its best, even though the Steelers have scored 24+ points in every game this year.
“We’ve got to put more points on the board. I know the scoreboard says what it does, but there are too many times we punted today and we didn’t do enough. So offensively we’re happy we got the win but we know we need to be better,” he concluded.
In case you’re wondering, the Steelers punted five times on Sunday, with Jordan Berry averaging 43.2 yards per punt with a long of 55 yards.
Roethlisberger finished the game 32 of 46 for 267 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
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