For his first NFL game with an actual audience, former Abbotsford football star and Langley resident Chase Claypool turned on the afterburners to run in four touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers en route to a 38-29 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 11 at Heinz Field.
Claypool, a former Abbotsford football star, became the First Canadian-born player in NFL history and the first rookie in Steelers history to score four touchdowns in a game as well as the first Steeler, novice or veteran, to hit that mark since 1968.
He was named AFC offensive player of the week.
For the first Steelers game where fans were allowed to attend during the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance was limited to just 4,708, in a stadium with an official capacity of 68,400. Those who attended got loud, thanks to the “7-11” team of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, number 7, and Claypool, number 11.
Just the beginning 💪
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 11, 2020
It was, the Steelers said, an example of Claypool’s ability to adjust on the fly and do things he hadn’t been asked to do previously.
That talent was on display when Roethlisberger completed a third-and-8 pass that became the game-clinching, 35-yard touchdown with 2:59 left in regulation.
“I think the coolest part about the whole thing is, we’ve never run the play I called with that formation, or that group on the field,” Roethlisberger explained.
”I can’t say enough about Chase getting down the middle of the field and kind of making that play for us.”
Roethlisberger told steelers.com that he gave Claypool “a little bit of a cue” about the change-up but Claypool characterized the pair’s pre-snap communication as more involved.
“I actually had to ask him what I was doing,” Claypool related. “He just told me. He kinda told the whole defense, which is my fault, but it worked out.”
Claypool now has 20 catches for 261 yards and four touchdowns for the undefeated Steelers.
He grew up playing in Abbotsford and calls Langley home, beginning his football career with Abbotsford Panthers where he led the club to a provincial final game in 2015 and was named the AA football player of the year that season.
Then, playing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Claypool was that team’s leading receiver in 2019 with 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 TDs.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly took to social media to praise Claypool following Sunday’s game, calling his performance “impressive.”
Claypool immediately responded with a “thank you, coach.”
Thank you Coach!! ☘️💚 https://t.co/R0SvfWgr7e
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) October 12, 2020
On April 23, he was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the NFL draft, the 17th player taken in the round, 49th overall.
Steelers fans recently voted to give Claypool “Mapletron” as his nickname, after Calvin Johnson Jr., the legendary Detroit Lions wide receiver known as “Megatron” after the Transformers character.