Well, that didn’t take long. For the first time in his career, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, the NFL announced Wednesday.
4️⃣ touchdowns in his 4️⃣th game in the league 👀@ChaseClaypool has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance vs. the Eagles!
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2020
Claypool turned in a record-breaking performance in just his fourth NFL game, leading the Steelers to a 38-29 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles. By virtue of being a rookie and scoring four touchdowns, the 2020 second-round pick put himself in elite company, as only four other rookies–Emmitt Smith, Earl Campbell, Gale Sayers and Jim Brown—have ever accomplished that feat. In case you haven’t noticed, all four are now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Those four touchdowns were spread across seven receptions for 110 yards and three carries for six yards. Claypool also had a 42-yard touchdown reception called back due to a phantom offensive pass interference penalty and a 33-yard highlight reel sideline catch overturned after a challenge by Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.
By virtue of scoring highlight-worthy rushing and receiving touchdowns, he also “swept” the FedEx® Air and Ground Plays of the Week.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 13, 2020
It’s also the first time a Steelers player has scored four TDs in a game since wide receiver Roy Jefferson did it against the Atlanta Falcons in November 1968.
Mike Tomlin to Claypool: “Stay Humble”
Claypool’s performance was so dominant that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had to pump the brakes on the hype train immediately after the game, and he also encouraged his star rookie to “stay humble,” something Claypool—who hails from British Columbia but played his college football at Notre Dame—insists will not be a problem.
Claypool on Tomlin: "He definitely kept telling me to stay humble. … he doesn't have to worry about that. I appreciate him keeping me grounded. In times like this, you can lose sight of important things. … I'm enjoying the moment for sure, but not letting it get to me."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) October 11, 2020
For the season, Clayool now has 13 catches for 261 yards, plus another 14 yards on the ground, with a total of five touchdowns. The rookie’s success is something that Steelers Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden predicted in training camp, but it’s probably safe to say that no one envisioned he’d have such a huge day so soon.
Now defenses are sure to devote more resources to stopping Claypool, which Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has already talked to him about, apparently.
#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said his message to rookie Chase Claypool, after his four-TD Sunday, was: "He's not going to be able to sneak up on anybody, so how is he going to rise to the occasion?"
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) October 14, 2020
Claypool has said, though, that he won’t mind the extra attention from defenses.
“I hope they have a corner on me and a safety over the top because that means that other people can go ball out,” Claypool told Pro Football Talk. “If I can go ahead and affect the game in that way whether I have zero catches or 10 catches, if I can affect a game indirectly and let someone else [contribute] then I’m all for it.”
Chase Claypool on Social Media
All of the above is helping the rookie wideout endear himself to Steelers fans and will surely help him build his social media following, something Claypool has been looking to grow.
As it turns out, Claypool “has game” on social media too, something NFL fans learned when he trolled Tom Brady via Twitter on Sunday.
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