Canadian rookie Chase Claypool played his first career NFL post-season game on Sunday night and performed well.
That wasn’t the case for the rest of his Steelers teammates as the Browns upset their AFC North Division rivals at Heinz Field, 48-37 in an AFC Wild Card match-up. Cleveland wins a playoff game for the first time since 1994.
Pittsburgh started the season 11-0, but ultimately lost five of their last six games, including the knockout by the Browns. Head coach Mike Tomlin watched as his group went down 28-0 in the first quarter and his side couldn’t comeback from the poor start.
“We didn’t do enough. We didn’t position them in enough good circumstances. We didn’t make enough plays, particularly in the critical moments. We were a group that died on the vine,” Tomlin said in his post-game videoconference.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisbeger completed 47-of-68 passes for 501 yards with four touchdowns against four interceptions putting up a quarterback rating of 85.5. Three of his interceptions led directly to 17 points for Cleveland, two touchdowns and one field goal.
“This loss is fresh, it’s just sitting on our hearts and our minds, and it will for a while,” Roethlisbeger said in his post-game videoconference. “I need to apologize to the fans, and the rest of my teammates for the way I played. Very disappointing, I hate it for our fans, I hate it for my teammates.”
Claypool caught five passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns for the Steelers in his playoff debut. The black and gold used his six-foot-four, 238-pound frame in the red zone. It was a productive and encouraging outing despite a bittersweet end to the 22-year-old’s first season in the NFL.
The rookie receiver played a key role in Pittsburgh producing a 12-4 record to earn the AFC North Division title. He finished his first regular season in the NFL with 62 receptions for 873 yards and nine touchdowns, plus 10 rushes for 16 yards and two scores — 11 total touchdowns.
Claypool has become a household name across Canada by tying the single-season record for touchdowns by a Canadian in the NFL and scoring the longest NFL touchdown ever by a Canadian-born player at 84 yards. His rookie campaign ranked among the best all-time seasons by a Canadian receiver — ever.
Mapletron was named the Steelers’ Rookie of the Year and his 62 receptions tied the team’s all-time rookie record. He became the first receiver in the Super Bowl era to score 10 touchdowns in his first 10 games. Being compared to Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson entering the NFL Draft and putting himself in the company of Randy Moss has helped Claypool’s name spread throughout the Steel City and the rest of the United States.
Overall, Claypool made nearly $3 million dollars with plenty more earning and star potential in his future.