Canada’s Claypool joins elite company with 10th TD

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are perfect, and Chase Claypool is, too.

Pittsburgh walloped the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars, 27-3, on Sunday to move to 10-0 on the year. The Steelers are just the eighth team in the past 25 years to start with 10-straight wins — and it’s the first time they’ve done it in their 88-season history.

Claypool, meanwhile, snagged the 10th touchdown reception of his stellar rookie season, streaking past single coverage for a 31-yard score.

That put Canada’s favourite receiver in a very select group: he’s one of just four players in NFL history to have 10-plus touchdowns in his first 10 career games. The others, all from the pre-Super Bowl era, are Houston’s Bill Groman (1960), Chicago’s Harlon Hill (1954) and Green Bay’s Billy Howton (1952).

In the past 10 years, only one wide receiver has won the Rookie of the Year award (Odell Beckham Jr., 2014). Claypool is doing all he can to change that narrative.

After Burrow injury, Bengals brace for the worst

It is not hyperbolic to say that Joe Burrow is the Cincinnati Bengals’ offence. Or at least that he was.

Burrow entered the week averaging 41 pass attempts per game, the most in the NFL, with five games of 300-plus passing yards (one shy of the rookie record). But now 2020’s top pick will miss the rest of the season, following an awkward injury to his left knee.

During Sunday’s game against Washington, a pair of linemen fell on Burrow’s left leg — his plant leg — as he heaved a pass downfield. Burrow appeared to be in considerable pain and required a cart to leave the field.

Several NFLers, including Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Burrow’s college teammate at LSU), quickly showed their support on Twitter. That was an immediate indicator for how severe the injury was.

The Bengals were already far from a complete team. But without Burrow for the rest of the year — and with starting running back Joe Mixon on injured reserve — we’re about to see how ugly things can get.

Herbert continues playing beyond his years

As one rookie quarterback falls, another one continues to rise.

For the seventh consecutive game, Justin Herbert threw multiple touchdown passes for the Los Angeles Chargers, en route to a 34-28 win over the New York Jets. Oh, and he torched the Jets for 366 passing yards, too.

That sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen for someone who was playing against amateurs and attending general science lectures this time last year. And yet here we are.

It’s strange to think that the Herbert Era in Hollywood only began because a Chargers team doctor accidentally punctured Tyrod Taylor’s lung back in September, forcing L.A. to go to its rookie sooner than intended.

Taylor’s injury might have been a fluke, but Herbert’s ascendance hasn’t been. And it’s encouraging to know that his powers aren’t Samson-like, because he still balled out this week despite getting a pretty brutal haircut.

Valdes-Scantling fumbles game away for Packers

Ah, the highs and lows of professional sports.

After blowing a 14-point lead against the Indianapolis Colts in the second half, the Green Bay Packers needed someone to make a big play in their final drive of regulation — and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling did just that.

Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay’s speediest offensive weapon, hauled in a 47-yard bomb in triple coverage to help set up Mason Crosby’s game-tying field goal with three seconds left. After catching just one ball all day prior to that moment, it looked like Valdes-Scantling might have put Green Bay in position to win.

And then overtime started. On the second play, Valdes-Scantling caught a screen pass, planted his foot to make a cut, and had the ball punched loose. Fumble, recovered by the Colts.

Indianapolis connected on a field goal in its ensuing possession to win the game, a game in which the Packers had a 90.6 per cent win probability at halftime, according to ESPN.

The Colts’ victory allows them to keep pace with the Tennessee Titans atop the AFC South, at 7-3. The Packers dropped to 7-3, but they still hold a two-game cushion on the laggards of the NFC North.

Hill, Saints keep marching

If you’re being honest with yourself, you didn’t expect Taysom Hill to start at quarterback in place of the injured Drew Brees this week.

If you’re being really honest with yourself, you didn’t expect it to go nearly as well as it did.

Hill (41 career pass attempts) got the nod over Jameis Winston (2,559 career pass attempts) and helped the New Orleans Saints to a seventh-straight victory, which propels them to the top of the NFC South standings.

When Brees is healthy, Hill is largely a gadget player — taking design runs and read options from shotgun, running routes from the slot, etc. So it’s no surprise that Hill did most of his damage with the ball in his hands on Sunday, rushing for 51 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries (while also completing 18-of-23 passes for 233 yards).

In the fantasy football realm, Hill was available as a tight end and/or wide receiver in some formats. For those of you who took advantage, bravo.

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