Pittsburgh Steelers: Chase Claypool's Breakout Game Lifts Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a history of drafting impact wide receivers and Chase Claypool appears to be the latest.
Claypool became the first NFL rookie with three receiving touchdowns and one rushing score in the same game during Pittsburgh's 38-29 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Only 10 players in the league have at least four touchdown catches this season.
A former college teammate of Ravens wide receiver Miles Boykin, Claypool is a second-round pick from Notre Dame who has been playing more since Diontae Johnson suffered a concussion in Week 3. It's going to be much harder to get Claypool out of the lineup now.
Since Kevin Colbert became the Steelers' general manager, they have drafted a long list of impact wide receivers that includes Antonio Brown, Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders. It looks like Claypool is ready to join that list.
After finishing with seven catches for 110 yards, Claypool had fun on social media, posting a picture of himself with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, mentioning the 7-11 connection between their jersey numbers – No. 7 for Big Ben and No. 11 for Claypool.
Roethlisberger doesn't view Claypool as a one-game wonder. He believes the rookie has a skillset that will make him a star, and the veteran quarterback displayed his confidence in the rookie by targeting him for the game-clinching score, with Pittsburgh clinging to a two-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"He's got some God-given abilities that not many people in this world have," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, via ESPN.com. "He's big, fast, and strong and he's very, very smart. That last touchdown is a perfect example. Changed the play, and he makes it happen. I just have to give him a little bit of a cue, and it's awesome."
The Steelers (4-0) responded well after an unexpected bye in Week 4, when their scheduled game against the Tennessee Titans was postponed due to the Titans' COVID-19 outbreak. Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland in a key AFC North matchup in Week 5.
Cleveland Browns: Handling Success Will Be New Challenge
This weekend strengthened the AFC North's argument for the being the toughest division in football. Defeating the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday moved the Browns to 4-1 for the first time since 1994, when Bill Belichick was their head coach.
Even without running back Nick Chubb in the lineup due to a knee injury, the Browns kept rolling offensively, reaching 30 points for the fourth consecutive game during a 32-23 victory. Cleveland is averaging 38 points per game during its four-game winning streak.
Under new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland's stars are playing consistently – quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and defensive end Myles Garrett. Meanwhile, many players are making key contributions, like safety Ronnie Harrison, who had a pick-six on Sunday.
Cleveland is +9 in turnovers over the last 11 quarters, making momentum-changing plays on both sides of the ball. The Browns haven't lost since Week 1 against Baltimore, putting themselves in position to play meaningful games as they look forward to facing the Steelers.
"We're coming together as a team," Garrett said via ESPN.com.
Cincinnati Bengals: Major Injury to D.J. Reader Is Part of Loss to Baltimore
Not only were the Bengals (1-3-1) dominated by Baltimore, 27-3, they suffered several key injuries. The most severe injury was to starting defensive tackle D.J. Reader, who was carted off the field. NFL Network reported that Reader will be lost for the season, a major blow to Cincinnati's defense.
The Bengals were excited to get standout defensive lineman Geno Atkins back in the lineup against the Ravens for his first game of the season. However, losing Reader means other players will have to step up, as safety Jessie Bates III told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Defensive end Sam Hubbard also left the game with an elbow injury, while wide receiver A.J. Green (hamstring) did not finish the game. Green, who has had a slow start to the season season (14 catches, 119 yards, zero touchdowns) did not have a catch and was targeted just once before leaving Sunday's game.
"I just know it was a soft tissue. That is all I know at this point," Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor said.
The Bengals visit Indianapolis on Sunday.