Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick Puts Steelers on Notice: ‘I Don’t Understand’

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick sounded off on the team's loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Running back Jaylen Warren of the Pittsburgh Steelers told reporters after the team’s Week 13 loss that they may have taken the Arizona Cardinals too lightly. Veteran safety Minkah Fitzpatrick didn’t disagree.

Fitzpatrick argued that Steelers defense didn’t give Cardinals tight end Trey McBride “the respect he deserved at first.” Fitzpatrick continued to voice his displeasure about the 24-10 defeat to the previously 2-10 Cardinals, and the 2023 season overall, which has seen the Steelers only win in close games.

“I don’t understand why games [unfold] like this. We should be winning by a lot of points, playing great defense,” Fitzpatrick told the media, via Steelers reporter Amanda Godsey. “When we don’t play our best ball, it’s like this. These are NFL teams. They get paid, too. So they’re gonna take advantage of us when we don’t play our best ball.”

Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick Calls for Steelers to ‘Play Our Best Ball’

It was an ugly Week 13 performance in a lot of ways for the Steelers.

According to Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora, before December 3, the Steelers had not lost to a team with a .167 win percentage or lower after Week 12 since 1940.

While the Steelers won the yardage battle, they had more penalties and turnovers than Arizona. Pittsburgh also allowed the Cardinals to convert 10 of 17 third-down opportunities.

Half of those third-down conversions came on a 99-yard drive which changed the complexion of the game. McBride caught a 5-yard touchdown just before halftime to give the Cardinals a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

On that drive, McBride routinely beat inside linebacker Mykal Walker, who played a season-high 96% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps because of all the injuries the Steelers have at inside linebacker.

McBride finished the game with 8 catches for 89 yards. He recorded 50 of those yards on the 99-yard drive.

The Steelers eventually adjusted to Fitzpatrick covering McBride. But by then, it was too late.

Looking ahead to Week 14, the Steelers will face another team with just two wins — the New England Patriots. But Fitzpatrick stressed regardless of the opponent, the Steelers “have to play our best ball.”

“Thursday we’ve got to go out there and just play our best ball, not worrying about who,” Fitzpatrick said on December 3. “We need to focus on us and play our [brand] of football.”

Fitzpatrick Reveals He Broke His Left Hand in Cardinals Loss

The Steelers suffered a barrage of injuries in the loss to the Cardinals. One of which was to Fitzpatrick, who broke his left hand while trying to force a fumble.

Despite the injury, Fitzpatrick, who returned in Week 13 from a hamstring ailment, played all 68 defensive snaps for the Steelers. He also made it clear that he will be ready to play the Patriots, who visit Pittsburgh on Thursday, December 7.

“I’ll be fine,” Fitzpatrick told reporters. “I’ll probably just wrap it up, club it up like we did today. Keep it moving.”

Fitzpatrick posted 5 combined tackles in the loss to the Cardinals. This season, he has 59 combined tackles and 2 pass defenses.

In addition to Fitzpatrick, linebacker T.J. Watt, quarterback Kenny Pickett, linebacker Elandon Roberts and guard Isaac Seumalo suffered injuries during Week 13.

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