After the 36-28 loss that ended in part because the Steelers ran out of time to finish a 96-yard drive that, with a two-point conversion, would have tied the game, Claypool gave his version of the fateful moments that robbed the Steelers of one or two shots more at the end zone.
“I got tackled near the hash,” Claypool said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com. “Did my little first-down point. Went to hand the ball to the ref. He just got there. . . . The ball got knocked out of my hands. That’s what cost us time. But I definitely do have to be better.”
The ball “got knocked out” of Claypool’s hands by offensive lineman Trai Turner, because Claypool was oblivious to the fact that they needed to move with a sense of urgency. Then, after tight end Pat Freiermuth retrieved the ball and Claypool nearly lined up offside at the next snap (a clock-killing spike), Claypool seemed to be upset.
Hopefully, he learned a lesson. The question is whether he’ll have to learn other lessons the hard way (like he did last night), or whether he’ll commit himself to having more thorough appreciation of all situations — and to doing a better job of not surrendering to the temptation to do things that advance his own image but that also undermine the more important goal of winning football games.