Claypool’s 4 TDs lead Steelers past Eagles 38-29

[Pittsburgh, PA] After an imposed bye-week due to Covid-19 protocol, the Pittsburgh Steelers goal was to start 4- 0 for the first time since the 1979 season (when they won their 4th Super Bowl in team history) and mission was accomplished as they defeated the cross-state rival Philadelphia Eagles 38-29 in front of limited Heinz Field crowd of 4,708.

But if you know the Steelers, they didn’t make it easy. All week, sport talk shows predicted that the Steelers defense would have a field day against Eagles QB Carson Wentz. That they would set a new sack record and the Eagles offense didn’t stand a chance. And we also know that 9 times out of 10, the opposite happens when such predictions are made.

Although the Steelers defense sacked Wentz 5 times and intercepted him twice (both by CB Steven Nelson) the Eagles QB threw for 258 yards and 2 TDs, and rookie WR Travis Fulgham shredded the Steelers defense for 152 yards on 10 receptions and a TD. Pittsburgh and Woodland Hills HS native Miles Sanders led the Eagles with 80 yards on 11 carries and 2 TDs, including a 74-yarder.

And although the Steelers nearly blew a 31-14 lead, they never trailed once in the game and now continue to hold onto a slim AFC North lead.

“I’m really excited to get the victory.” Said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. “It’s never easy in the NFL with Sunday ball. Got to give Philadelphia a lot of credit, they tested us. Their ability to convert third downs offensively, I thought was a significant component of the game. Some of it was self-inflicted by us in penalties and missed tackles and so forth. You’ve got to give their guys credit. They had a good plan, good execution of the plan, and that allowed them to maintain possession of the ball and keep us at bay and stay in it.”

 

The true start of the game was Steelers rookie WR Chase Claypool who had a career-day as he became the first Steeler rookie to record 4 TDs in a game and he’s the first Steeler to do so since WR Roy Jefferson in 1968. He also becomes just the 4th rookie receiver in NFL history to score 4 TD’s in one game. Claypool is also the first steelers rookie with a Rush TD and Rec TD in the same game since Franco Harris in 1972 and is the first Steelers WR with a Rush TD and Rec TD in the same game since Hines Ward in Week 9, 2004, also against the Eagles.

“Chase Claypool, obviously, was a guy that had a big game.” Said Tomlin “He was just going to be the guy today. He had a good matchup, and he made some plays, and they found that rhythm. I don’t want to make it out to be something more than it is. It was his turn today based on a lot of things, and he was able to deliver.”

The Steelers 2nd round pick gave them a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run. He then scored his 2nd one on a 32-yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger. In the 3rd quarter, Big Ben found Claypool for a 5-

yard TD pass and in the 4th quarter, the two connected on a 35-yard TD pass to seal the game. Claypool might have had a 5th TD if he wasn’t called for offensive pass interference.

 

Big Ben passed for 239 yards and 3 TDs. RB James Conner (44 yards) rushed for the other Steelers TD. But he didn’t lead the team in rushing as WR/KR Ray-Ray McCleod stole that honor as he finished with 63 yards with 58 of them coming on a 3rd quarter run. K Chris Boswell also added a 41-yard FG.

But the Steelers defense struggled to shut Wentz and the Eagles down most of the game as he eventually got them to 31-29 in the 4th quarter. After TE Eric Ebron’s fumble gave the Eagles the ball back, it looked as if they were going to either drive for a game-winning TD or FG. But the Steelers defense found their mojo on that drive as they held the Eagles to a 57-yard FG attempt by FG Jake Elliot which sailed wide-right.

The Eagles (1-3-1) must now find a way to rebound and maintain their slim NFC East lead despite being in a division where each team is below .500 as they host Baltimore next Sunday. Meanwhile the Steelers will aim to go 5-0 as they host Cleveland next Sunday.

“But I like our guys.” Said Tomlin “Collectively, they fought well together. They complemented one another in all three phases of the game. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any stretch, but we’re not looking for perfect. We’re looking to be good enough to win.”

Please e-mail Ray at rayporterjr72@gmail.com

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