Claypool, Steelers clobber Eagles as Philly struggles continue

NFL: Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Chase Claypool went off for four touchdowns against the Eagles on Sunday afternoon.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It appears as though Chase Claypool wasn’t on the Eagles’ scouting report heading into Week 5.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie wide receiver — who had six receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown through the first three games of his NFL career — went off on Sunday, posting four touchdowns and 110 yards receiving in a 38-29 victory over the Eagles (1-3-1), who continue misfire in 2020.

It was just enough to overshadow Travis Fulgham’s banner day. The second-year receiver who was signed by the Eagles just eight days earlier posted 10 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown to provide a struggling Philadelphia offense with a much-needed spark despite the continued inconsistencies of Carson Wentz.

The Eagles’ quarterback tossed up another two interceptions in Week 5, throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns as well.

But Fulgham’s day was even more impressive against an aggressive Steelers defense was all the more impressive, especially because they dominated for a majority of opening proceedings.

Through the first 14 minutes of the first quarter, they were held to -3 yards while the Steelers (4-0) took the lead with 1:04 to go behind a Claypool two-yard rush. It was the first touchdown of the rookie out of Notre Dame’s career.

They finally opted to give Miles Sanders the ball and he immediately turned the game on its head, breaking off a 74-yard touchdown run with seven seconds left in the first quarter.

Off a draw play, Sanders hurdled first contact near the line of scrimmage up the middle before bouncing out down the left sideline to get into the open field.

It was the first of three-straight combined scoring drives.

Claypool and the Steelers would strike right back as the rookie receiver picked up his second score of the game with 11:49 left in the second — hauling in a crossing pattern that left him unopposed to scamper in on a 32-yard score.

Wentz responded by largely directing the Eagles’ tying drive, going 76 yards on 10 plays that ended with Sanders’ second score of the day, a one-yard rush.

The touchdown streak stopped when the Steelers’ ensuing drive stalled just outside the red zone, but they took the lead with 1:57 to go and into halftime when Chris Boswell knocked home a 41-yard field goal.

Straight out of the break, Pittsburgh built on its lead to go up 10 when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — who threw for three touchdowns on the day — fed Claypool from five yards out for his third score of the game, capping off a 75-yard drive sparked by a 58-yard run by Ray-Ray McCloud.

Looking for Zach Ertz on the very next drive, Wentz was picked off by Steven Nelson at the Philadelphia 26-yard-line to dig Philadelphia’s hole deeper.

While Ertz’s route was withheld from developing, Wentz threw as though the Eagles’ tight end was untouched and open. Instead, it was the Steelers’ defensive back who was waiting with open arms.

It was Wentz’s eighth interception of the year, becoming just the fifth quarterback in franchise history to throw a pick in each of the first five games of a season.

Four plays later, the Steelers were in the end zone behind a James Conner one-yard score, going up 31-14 inside five minutes into the third quarter.

The Eagles would reply less than five minutes later when Wentz — fueled by a 31-yard dime to Fulgham — go to within nine behind a Greg Ward eight-yard score and a two-point conversion.

Following a Steelers punt, the Eagles offense picked right back up where it left off on its previous scoring drive, going 80 yards in 5:27 to get within two when Wentz hit Fulgham for a four-yard score with 11:27 to go.

The Eagles had a golden opportunity to nab the lead when they recovered an Eric Ebron fumble near midfield, but the offense couldn’t do much before Jake Elliott missed a 57-yard field goal attempt with 3:18 to go.

Pittsburgh made them pay — behind Claypool no less — as the rookie receiver hauled in his fourth score of the game from 35 yards out to put it on ice.

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