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Minkah Called Game: Fitzpatrick Gives Up TD to Ensure Win



Steelers FS Minkah Fitzpatrick

ATLANTA — Minkah Fitzpatrick called “game.”

Trying to get something, anything going that would help his team’s fading chances in the final minute of what became a 19-16 Pittsburgh Steelers victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota slung the ball 20 yards in the air to left, looking for a receiver.

Fitzpatrick, in the form of a white blur, flashed in front of the intended receiver and sealed a road triumph for the Steelers.

Fitzpatrick caught the ball at full flight, sprinting from the 20-yard toward a mostly empty Atlanta end zone. Rather than fight toward the goal line, though, Fitzpatrick was more interested in getting out of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and getting on the flight home after his interception.

“I knew as soon as I caught it, I said, ‘I got to get out of bounds, I ain’t trying to go back out there again,'” Fitzpatrick said. “We win the game, go home. I ain’t trying to add to the stats, pad the stats, nothing like that. I’m good with just getting the win.”

The anticipative safety had an idea what was to come after punter Pressley Harvin III stuck the hosts on their own two-yard line. With under a minute left to go, the Falcons didn’t have time to dink and dunk. Fitzpatrick was pretty sure where the ball was going.

“We were in a two-high,” Fitzpatrick said. “(Mariota) knew we were in a two-high. The only spot that he could get the ball was the seam … I knew he was going there. It was a two-minute concept, four verticals trying to hit the ball over the middle runner.”

He also knew that his decision to make a beeline for the bench might ruffle some feathers in the world of fantasy football, as he tweeted after the game.

But if Fitzpatrick was willing to turn down his own stats in order to ensure a victory, you can be sure he isn’t worried about fantasy players very.

“Sorry, not sorry,” he wrote.

Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Atlanta.