Mapletron is making history while helping transform his team’s offensive attack.
Chase Claypool and the Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 2-0 on Sunday following a 26-21 victory over the visiting Denver Broncos. The biggest play of the game came in the second quarter when Ben Roethlisberger connected with Claypool for an 84-yard touchdown pass.
The native of Abbotsford, B.C. finished the game with three receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown — the first of his career. The NFL’s communications department confirmed that Claypool’s 84-yard score was the longest scrimmage touchdown by a Canadian-born player in NFL history.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020
The 2020 second-round draft pick had a strong debut last week, making a 28-yard catch along the sideline against the New York Giants. Through two games, Claypool has made five receptions on five targets for 127 yards and one touchdown.
Roethlisberger played well, completing 29-of-41 attempts for 311 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His favourite target on the day was second-year receiver Diontae Johnson who caught eight passes for 92 yards and a score on thirteen targets.
Broncos’ quarterback Drew Lock left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. His replacement, Jeff Driskel, completed 18-of-34 attempts for 256 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The career backup faced consistent pressure — Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt led the way with 2.5 sacks — but had his team in scoring position late in a one-score game.
Sunday’s contest featured another player with whom many Canadian football fans are familiar. Diontae Spencer, formerly of the Toronto Argonauts (2015-16) and Ottawa Redblacks (2017-18), has served as Denver’s primary returner since the start of last season.
The speedster made four returns on Sunday — two punts and two kickoffs — for 53 yards. Coincidentally, Spencer was with Pittsburgh last year before he was waived at the end of training camp. The 2018 CFL all-star also took some reps on offence, though he did not see the football.
Claypool and the Steelers host the Houston Texans (0-1) next Sunday at 1:00 PM ET as they look to improve to 3-0.