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One to grow on

It was the type of game wide receiver Chase Claypool knew he was capable of but he stopped short of calling his seven-catch, 96-yard, one-touchdown effort against Tampa Bay a breakout game.

"I knew it was there, I was just waiting for the opportunity," Claypool said. "It felt great but you still gotta stack days.

"It's one good game, that doesn't really mean too much."

Claypool amassed his seven catches on seven targets.

Six of them produced either first downs or a touchdown (Claypool's first of the season), including a 17-yard gain on third-and-15 and a 26-yard grab on third-and-11 during a possession that commenced with 4:38 left in regulation that helped allow the Steelers to run out the clock on the Bucs.

In achieving season-high totals for catches, receiving yards and average per catch (13.7) Claypool broke a streak of nine consecutive games with 50 or fewer yards receiving.

His eruption was timely given that tight end Pat Freiermuth (concussion) wasn't available, and perhaps a result of Freiermuth's absence.

"Probably targets, working the inside of the field, no Freiermuth, there's probably some legitimacy to that," offensive coordinator Matt Canada said. "But a lot of it was just the way that it went.

"He started making plays, the quarterbacks, you start to get a feel on those things. The way the game dictated itself, the matchups that occur, some of the situations, it was probably a combination of all of that."

Freiermuth was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

His eventual return, Canada maintained, should make it easier, in theory, for Claypool or one of the other eligibles to enjoy the type of game Claypool did against Tampa Bay.

"Sure," Canada said. "We can get them all going more.

"With the weapons that we have there's probably games that should be like that. You should probably have a game where a guy has a bunch (of catches, yards or both) if they're choosing to double (-cover) 'Tae' (wide receiver Diontae Johnson), or if they're focused on (wide receiver) George (Pickens) or focused on Pat. That's probably something that shouldn't be that uncommon.

"But obviously we have to have more productivity consistently, however it comes."

Claypool is all for sharing the wealth in the middle upon Freiermuth's return.

"Hopefully, now we can do it while he's in there," Claypool said, "and get plays for him as well."