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Minkah Fitzpatrick Drops Revelation on Steelers Defense



Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick against the Arizona Cardinals, Dec. 3, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Throughout their 24-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Steelers had little answer for standout tight end Trey McBride. He became Kyler Murray’s favorite target quickly and racked up yardage against the Steelers’ defense with ease over the middle of the field. But why was that, and why were there no adjustments made before McBride went off all game?

The box score will say the Arizona Cardinals drove 99 yards down the field for a touchdown. But you may as well have said that McBride did it instead. He caught four catches for 49 yards and the touchdown on the drive, all coming against Mykal Walker and Damontae Kazee while Minkah Fitzpatrick roamed elsewhere around the field. Later on, they would start to put Fitzpatrick on him, leading to much more success, but Walker still got put in tough spots too often.

“That’s an unacceptable performance by me,” Walker said. “Really, that drive was all on me. They kept coming at me. I have to do better.”

Steelers Cardinals TE Trey McBride

Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride warms up before an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Walker can do better. He has in the last two games. This guy did exceptionally well against David Njoku two weeks ago. He’s not some bum. Walker can be a good complementary piece. So, it would be nice if they would have him with inside help rather than man-to-man against McBride, which is a real problem. This team never gave him the respect he deserved. Their game plan for Bengals tight end Drew Sample and McBride were indistinguishable. That’s unacceptable.

“We really let the tight end catch a couple of balls over the middle. He is a good player,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t think we gave him the respect he deserved at first.”

Agreed. And then they came out of the break and never gave him enough respect until they finally put their foot down. Unfortunately, it was essentially too late. That’s a coaching gaffe to the highest degree in this one. Losing Roberts sucked for the team, I get it, but you can not leave Walker out there to dry. They did just that. It’s a bad indictment on the coaching staff.