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Best Steelers Plays of 2021: Chase Claypool is a natural playmaker

Looking at the biggest plays from the Steelers big receiver.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As a rookie, Chase Claypool set or tied multiple franchise rookie records. He led the Steelers with 11 total touchdowns, 9 of them receiving touchdowns. He set the franchise rookie reception record with 62. Claypool also led all Steelers in yards per target. His 8 yards per target was a full yard higher than any other player on the team.

In 2021 as part of a much less successful Steelers offense Claypool was targeted 4 fewer times, caught 3 fewer targets for 13 fewer yards. He again led the Steelers in yards per target, by an even bigger margin of 1.3 yards per target. While the difference in these stats was small, his touchdowns dropped from a team leading eleven in 2020 to two in 2021. But while his scoring plays dropped off substantially, Chase Claypool still made plenty of big plays.

Steelers vs. Bills, 3rd quarter, 3:45

Chase Claypool is the receiver to the top of the screen.

Chase Claypool was an effective runner for the 2021 Steelers. Claypool rushed for 96 yards, only 2 fewer yards than Benny Snell, the Steelers second leading rusher. His speed and physicality have made him effective on jet sweeps and end arounds. This run only led to a field goal, but was an important part in changing the momentum of the game.

Steelers vs. Raiders, 4th quarter, 12:14

Chase Claypool is the receiver to the bottom of the screen.

The Steelers put Claypool alone in this set, and it gets them a one-on-one shot downfield. Claypool makes a tough catch, and gains some extra yards realizing he isn’t down. This was the second longest play of the season for the Steelers, and they would score shortly after. Claypool gets plenty of criticism for falling to the ground when he catches the ball, but this is a great catch by Claypool.

Steelers vs. Broncos, 2nd quarter, 5:11

Chase Claypool is the second receiver from the bottom of the screen.

This is the Steelers longest play of 2021. The Steelers come out with two tight ends, Pat Freiermuth lines up outside to the top of the screen while (in order from bottom) Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron line up on the other side. Chase Claypool draws a linebacker in coverage and easily beats future Hall of Famer Von Miller on a slant route. While the formation and play design got him that far, Claypool turns a nice gain into a field-flipping play by heading directly up-field to draw defenders in before cutting outside and stiff-arming a defender.

Steelers vs. Chargers, 1st quarter, 13:35

Chase Claypool is the receiver to the top of the screen.

Claypool’s impact wasn’t just seen on big plays though. On this play Claypool converts a third down with a hurdle over a defender, securing the yards needed for the first down. Claypool consistently showed a knack for getting across the first down line as well as getting into the end zone in his rookie season, and while he didn’t score many touchdowns in 2021, he still showed the knack for picking up the yards needed to convert.

Steelers at Bengals, 1st quarter, 6:01

The Bengals scored on their first two drives of this game, and facing a 10-0 deficit Roethlisberger threw this deep ball to Chase Claypool to start the drive. When the ball is thrown the defender is in a great position to defend a pass, but Claypool used contact from the defender to win position and make a tough catch. Check out the replay of the catch.

That’s the kind of fight for the ball the Steelers need to see more of from Chase Claypool in 2022.

Steelers vs. Vikings, 4th quarter, 2:11

Chase Claypool is the receiver to the bottom of the screen.

With just over 2 minutes left in the game, the Steelers were backed up deep in their own side of the field in need of a touchdown. This play to Chase Claypool got them out of bad field position, and what a play by Claypool it was. The cornerback was flagged for pass interference on this play, but that didn’t matter as Claypool was able to find a way to catch the ball anyway.

These are my picks for Chase Claypool’s best plays of the 2021 season, now it’s your turn to pick which of these plays is the very best play from Chase Claypool.


Which was the best play from Chase Claypool in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    v Bills - a big run
    (16 votes)
  • 5%
    v Raiders - Deep ball bounce up
    (7 votes)
  • 29%
    v Broncos - Quick slant for a big gain
    (36 votes)
  • 0%
    v Chargers - Hurdles for the first down
    (1 vote)
  • 13%
    v Bengals - fights back to ball
    (16 votes)
  • 38%
    v Vikings - catch through interference
    (47 votes)
123 votes total Vote Now