Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was not pleased with the actions of wide receiver Chase Claypool during the team’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were oh so close to overcoming a 29-0 deficit to the Minnesota Vikings, but the NFC North team held on for a 36-28 victory. The Vikings never make things easy, but the Steelers were a Pat Freiermuth catch in the end zone away from scoring a potential game-tying touchdown. One player that caught the attention of head coach Mike Tomlin was wide receiver Chase Claypool, but for all the wrong reasons.
After the game, Tomlin confirmed to a reporter that he did bench Claypool earlier in the game after he received an unnecessary roughness penalty on the team’s opening drive. When asked if the message went through to Claypool, Tomlin said, “we’ll see.”
Mike Tomlin confirms that he benched Chase Claypool earlier in game vs. Vikings
On Pittsburgh’s opening drive, Claypool caught a six-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But following the play, the wide receiver retaliated against Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland, poking him in the helmet with his finger, resulting in the 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
Claypool was in the game later in the game, including the crucial end of game drive. With the team having no timeouts remaining and under 40 seconds remaining, Claypool caught a nine-yard pass. But instead of handing the ball to the official to put it back at the line of scrimmage, the wideout posed and signaled for the first down.
Below, you can see offensive guard Trai Turner try to get the ball out of Claypool’s hands so Roethlisberger could spike it to stop the clock.
Chase Claypool celebrating a first down with no timeouts and 36 seconds left on the clock 🤦♂️
The Steelers probably could have used those extra 5 seconds…
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) December 10, 2021
In the postgame press conference, Claypool responded to questions about his first down pose on the final drive. You can check out his answer below, via Dejan Kovacevic of DK Pittsburgh Sports.
Despite being benched, Claypool still led the team in receiving yards on Thursday night. The second-year wideout caught eight-of-nine passes for 93 yards.
Pittsburgh was hoping to build off their clutch win over the rival Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday, but to no avail. Now, their chances of making the playoffs just got that much more difficult with just four games remaining on the schedule. They face the Tennessee Titans in Week 15, before closing out the year against the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and the Ravens in the season-finale.