Chase Claypool said the play wasn’t designed for him. In fact, he claims it was nearly a disaster in a moment the Pittsburgh Steelers could least afford one.
Not that anyone would know by watching, though. Claypool, the second-year pro out of Notre Dame, caught a go-ahead six-yard touchdown pass to give the Steelers a 13-10 lead over the Baltimore Ravens with 2:54 left in regulation Sunday. Pittsburgh won 16-13 in overtime to clinch the AFC’s last playoff spot.
The way Claypool caught the pass at the 4-yard line and strutted into the end zone untouched sure looked like a designed play with him as the primary read. He ran a drag route from the field side while tight end Zach Gentry created some space for him on a pick play.
Pitch and catch — after a pump fake from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“It was supposed to go to someone else,” Claypool told reporters afterward. “They missed the audible. I was fortunate enough to fall into that touchdown.”
It was Claypool’s first touchdown since Oct. 10 and halted his late-season swoon. He had just seven catches for 70 yards in three games since his first-down celebration cost the Steelers a few precious seconds on their failed game-tying drive in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings Dec. 9. His gaffe planted him firmly in head coach Mike Tomlin’s doghouse.
After his Week 18 performance, he enters the playoffs out of it. All told, Claypool had five catches for 37 yards and three carries for a team-high 33 yards in the win. He ends the regular season with 59 catches and is second on the team with 860 receiving yards.
Here’s a look at how Claypool and every other former Notre Dame player in the NFL this year fared in Week 18.
Aaron Banks (Played at Notre Dame from 2017-20), OG, San Francisco 49ers
On the active roster for the 49ers’ 27-24 overtime win over the Rams … Was active in nine games for 10-7 San Francisco.
Alex Bars (2014-18), OL, Chicago Bears
Active for all 17 games, with three starts, for 6-11 Chicago … Was active as a reserve lineman for Bears’ 31-17 loss to Minnesota.
Ian Book (2016-20), QB, New Orleans Saints
Inactive for Saints’ 30-20 win over Atlanta … Started in his only appearance this year for 9-8 New Orleans, completing 12 of 20 passes for 135 yards with two interceptions in a loss to Miami Dec. 27.
Miles Boykin (2015-18), WR, Baltimore Ravens
Active but recorded no stats in Ravens’ 16-13 overtime loss to Pittsburgh … Was activated from injured reserve Oct. 11, and made one catch for six yards in eight games for 8-9 Baltimore.
Chase Claypool (2016-19), WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Caught five passes for 37 yards and rushed three times for 33 yards in Steelers’ 16-13 overtime win over Baltimore … Played in 15 of 17 games for 9-7-1 Pittsburgh, with 59 catches for 860 yards and two touchdown, plus 14 rushes for 96 yards.
Scott Daly (2012-15), LS, Detroit Lions
Served as the primary long snapper in Lions’ 37-30 win over Green Bay … Was the long snapper in all 17 contests for 3-13-1 Detroit.
Sheldon Day (2012-15), DL, Cleveland Browns
Inactive for Browns’ 21-16 win over Bengals … Appeared in seven games for 8-9 Cleveland, with one start, recording 20 tackles, 1.0 sack and two passes defended.
Liam Eichenberg (2016-20), OL, Miami Dolphins
Started at left tackle in Dolphins’ 33-24 win over New England … Played in all 17 contests for 9-8 Miami, starting in 16.
Jalen Elliott (2016-19), S, Detroit Lions
Made one tackle in Detroit’s 37-30 win over Green Bay … Dressed for eight games, with one start, and recorded 12 tackles for the 3-13-1 Lions.
Matthias Farley (2011-15), S, Tennessee Titans
Made two tackles in Titans’ 28-25 win over Houston … Active for all 17 games and notched 13 tackles and a forced fumble for 12-5 Tennessee.
Will Fuller V (2013-15), WR, Miami Dolphins
Was placed on injured reserve (chest/elbow) Oct. 6 and did play again in 2021 … Played in two games for the 9-8 Dolphins and had four receptions for 26 yards.
Alohi Gilman (2017-19), S, Los Angeles Chargers
Made four tackles in Chargers’ 35-32 overtime loss to Las Vegas … Played in 11 games with three starts for 9-8 Los Angeles, and compiled 38 tackles and one interception.
Robert Hainsey (2017-20), OL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Was on active roster as a backup lineman and saw time on offense in Bucs’ 41-17 win over Carolina … Appeared in nine games for 13-4 Tampa Bay.
Daelin Hayes (2016-20), DE, Baltimore Ravens
Played in one game with no stats recorded for 8-9 Baltimore before landing on injured reserve Sept. 27 due to an ankle injury … Activated before Week 16, but did not dress, and placed on IR again Jan. 1 due to a knee issue.
J.J. Jansen (2004-07), LS, Carolina Panthers
Was the long snapper in the Panthers’ 41-17 loss to Tampa Bay … Served as the primary long snapper in all 17 games for 5-12 Carolina.
Jamir Jones (2016-19), DL, Jacksonville Jaguars
Active but recorded no stats in Jaguars’ 26-11 win over Indianapolis … Waived by Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 25, claimed by Jacksonville two days later and appeared in two games … Was waived by Pittsburgh Sept. 28 and picked up by the Rams the next day … Appeared in three games with one start for the Steelers and 10 games for the Rams … Has nine total tackles this season.
Tony Jones Jr. (2016-19), RB, New Orleans Saints
Started and rushed seven times for 22 yards in New Orleans’ 30-20 win over Atlanta … Appeared in 11 games with four starts for 9-8 Saints, compiling 54 carries for 142 yards and five catches for 29 yards.
Khalid Kareem (2016-19), DL, Cincinnati Bengals
Started and made four tackles in Bengals’ 21-16 loss to Cleveland … Spent the first seven weeks of the season on injured reserve, but has logged snaps in seven games (one start) and made eight tackles for 10-7 Cincinnati.
Cole Kmet (2017-19), TE, Chicago Bears
Started and caught four passes for 48 yards in Chicago’s 31-17 loss to Minnesota … Started all 17 games for the 6-11 Bears and notched 60 catches for 612 yards.
Tommy Kraemer (2016-20), OL, Detroit Lions
Active as a reserve lineman for Lions’ 37-30 win over Green Bay … Played in nine games, with three starts, for 3-13-1 Detroit.
Julian Love (2016-18), CB, New York Giants
Made four tackles in New York’s 22-7 loss to Washington … Started five games and appeared in all 17 for the 4-13 Giants, compiling 63 tackles, 0.5 sacks, seven passes defended and one interception.
Nick Martin (2011-15), C, Las Vegas Raiders
Active as reserve linemen for Raiders’ 35-32 overtime win over the Chargers … Active in all 17 games for 10-7 Las Vegas, but did not start.
Zack Martin (2009-13), OG, Dallas Cowboys
Started at right guard in Dallas’ 51-26 win over Philadelphia … Started the last 16 games for the 12-5 Cowboys after missing Week 1 due to COVID.
Nick McCloud (2020), CB, Buffalo Bills
Signed to the Bills’ practice squad Nov. 8 … Was waived by Cincinnati Nov. 2 after seeing action in two games.
Mike McGlinchey (2013-17), OT, San Francisco 49ers
Suffered a season-ending torn quad injury during the 49ers’ 31-17 home loss to Arizona in Week 9 … Started the first eight games for 10-7 San Francisco.
Sam Mustipher (2014-18), C, Chicago Bears
Started at center in Bears’ 31-17 loss to Minnesota … Started all 17 games for 6-11 Chicago.
Quenton Nelson (2014-17), OG, Indianapolis Colts
Started at left guard in Indianapolis’ 26-11 loss to Jacksonville … Started each of the 13 games he appeared in for the 9-8 Colts.
Adetokunbo Ogundeji (2016-20), DE, Atlanta Falcons
Started and made four tackles in Falcons’ 30-20 loss to New Orleans … Appeared in 16 games, with 11 starts, for 7-10 Atlanta and compiled 32 tackles with 1.0 sack.
Julian Okwara (2016-19), LB, Detroit Lions
Had two sacks and one forced fumble in Lions’ 37-30 win over Green Bay … Appeared in 13 games (one start) for 3-13-1 Detroit, recording 24 tackles, 5.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception.
Romeo Okwara (2012-15), LB, Detroit Lions
Suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 4 … Started the first four games of the season for the 3-13-1 Lions and recorded six tackles with 1.0 sack.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (2017-20), LB, Cleveland Browns
Recorded two tackles in Cleveland’s 21-16 win over Cincinnati … Started 10 of the 14 games he played in for the 8-9 Browns and recorded 70 tackles, four passes defended, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Isaac Rochell (2013-16), DL, Indianapolis Colts
Made two tackles in Colts’ 26-11 loss to Jacksonville … Contributed 15 tackles in 12 appearances for 9-8 Indianapolis.
Kyle Rudolph (2008-10), TE, New York Giants
Had four catches for 17 yards in Giants’ 22-7 loss to Washington … Played in 16 contests and made 13 starts for 4-13 New York, and compiled 26 catches for 257 yards and one touchdown.
KeiVarae Russell (2012-15), DB, New Orleans Saints
Elevated from the practice squad and made one tackle in Saints’ 30-20 win over Atlanta … Saw action in two games this season, with one tackle … Was waived by 9-8 New Orleans Nov. 23 and signed to the practice squad Nov. 25.
Ben Skowronek (2020), WR, Los Angeles Rams
Active but did not catch a pass in Rams’ 27-24 overtime loss to San Francisco … Appeared in 14 games with one start, and notched 11 catches for 133 yards for 12-5 Los Angeles.
Harrison Smith (2007-11), S, Minnesota Vikings
Made six tackles in Minnesota’s 31-17 win over Chicago … Started each of the 15 games he appeared in this season, compiling 99 tackles, 3.0 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and seven passes defended for the 8-9 Vikings.
Jaylon Smith (2013-15), LB, New York Giants
Started and made four tackles with one pass broken up in Giants’ 22-7 loss to Washington … Signed to New York’s 53-man roster Dec. 20 and made 18 tackles in four games (two starts) … Signed with the Packers Oct. 7, one day after being waived by Dallas … Played in two games and made one tackle for Green Bay … Started two games and recorded 17 tackles (12 solo) for the Cowboys prior to being waived.
Durham Smythe (2013-17), TE, Miami Dolphins
Started and had two catches for 34 yards in Dolphins’ 33-24 win over New England … Was active in all 17 games, with 12 starts, for 9-8 Miami, posting 34 receptions for 357 yards.
Equanimeous St. Brown (2015-17), WR, Green Bay Packers
Had two catches for 22 yards in Packers’ 37-30 loss to Detroit … Appeared in 13 games (two starts), and compiled nine receptions for 97 yards and three rushing attempts for 14 yards for 13-4 Green Bay.
Ronnie Stanley (2012-15), OT, Baltimore Ravens
Was placed on injured reserve Oct. 19 due to an ankle injury he suffered in Week 1 … Played in one game before being sidelined and missed the rest of the season.
Jerry Tillery (2015-18), DT, Los Angeles Chargers
Made two tackles in Chargers’ 35-32 overtime loss to Las Vegas … Started 15 of 16 games for 9-8 Los Angeles and compiled 46 tackles with 4.5 sacks.
Drue Tranquill (2014-18), LB, Los Angeles Chargers
Started and made five tackles in Los Angeles’ 35-32 overtime loss to Las Vegas … Appeared in 14 games with seven starts for the 9-8 Chargers and notched 74 tackles with 1.5 sacks and one pass defended.
Tommy Tremble (2018-20), TE, Carolina Panthers
Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list, started and caught two passes for seven yards in Carolina’s 41-17 loss to Tampa Bay. Also had one carry for four yards … Appeared in 16 games and made 11 starts for the 5-12 Panthers, compiling 20 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown … Also had three rushing attempts for 11 yards and one score.
Stephon Tuitt (2011-13), DE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Did not play this year and is not expected to play in the postseason due to a knee injury suffered in training camp.
Brock Wright (2017-20), TE, Detroit Lions
Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list and caught two passes for 51 yards and a touchdown in Detroit’s 37-30 win over Green Bay … Made 10 appearances (five starts) for the 3-13-1 Lions, with 12 catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns.