PITTSBURGH — The Steelers rushing defense has been horrid all year. Even on a day where the defense forced four turnovers and held the Titans to 13 points, the Titans still put up over 200 yards on the ground. However, the only reason they did not put up anymore is Minkah Fitzpatrick’s tackling. The star free safety racked up 14 total tackles on the day, including an astonishing 12 solo tackles.
While the rushing defense continues to struggle, Fitzpatrick continues to keep a lid on it. He may have been the catalyst to allowing the Steelers to weather the storm in the tough times of the game. Even though his performance may go unnoticed by the untrained eye, Mike Tomlin is not looking past the contributions that Fitzpatrick brought to the table.
“We just minimized some of the explosion when they did break,” Tomlin said. “And you’ve to tip your cap to Minkah. I don’t know how many tackles he had, but as a middle-of-the-field player there were several times where I thought his tackling was big and covered up some lack of gap integrity.”
Earning the title of the ‘safety valve’ from his teammates, Fitzpatrick’s tackling has been huge. Up to this point in the season, Fitzpatrick has an absurd 102 tackles on the year. The record for a Steelers safety is 105 by Terrell Edmunds, which Fitzpatrick seems destined to crush. That key trust in Fitzpatrick is something that even a veteran like Joe Haden admires.
“He’s that safety valve, man,” Haden said. “He plays that free safety as best as they come. He’s the last line of defense. We feel very comfortable with him. Sometimes they ended up breaking through there and Minkah has a top on it for the defensive backs and for the running game. He’s taking that role on very well. He loves tackling. He prides himself in it. I’m super happy we have him back there.”
FItzpatrick will have to continue to keep a lid on it as the Steelers face an explosive Chiefs offense next week. However, if his play keeps up, it is likely Fitzpatrick is playing himself right into another All-Pro selection as the Steelers’ deep man.