Chase Claypool might have put himself further in Mike Tomlin’s doghouse with his actions towards the end of Thursday Night Football.
The Steelers had a chance to force overtime on their final drive of the game, down 36-28. During that drive, Claypool caught a critical pass on fourth-and-1 for a 9-yard gain at Minnesota’s 34-yard line with about 38 seconds left in regulation. After the reception, Claypool celebrated the first down instead of handing the ball to a ref as the team had zero timeouts to stop the clock.
The Steelers star wideout then had the ball knocked out of his hands as it squirted on the field and it took an official a few seconds to corral it and get it set for the Steelers’ next play, which was snapped with about 24 seconds left. Those precious seconds could’ve gave the team another shot at trying to score.
After the game, Claypool didn’t seem to think his celebration was the issue.
“I got tackled near the hash, did my little first down point, went to hand the ball to the ref,” Claypool said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He just got there. Even if I got right up and looked for him, he wasn’t there. He ran down the field to come get the ball. The ball got knocked out of my hands. That is what cost us time. But I definitely do have to be better. I knew the situation.”
Roethlisberger said he didn’t see the need to talk to Claypool about the penalty or other issues.
“That’s not really my job,” he said. “To me, that goes up to coach (Mike) Tomlin. That’s his job as head coach.”