Relationships ended on short notice often come with the consequence of bad blood and there was definitely a lot of bad blood between the Miami Dolphins and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The former Dolphins’ safety was supposed to be a mainstay on their unit but a trade request ended up with the Pittsburgh Steelers acquiring him shortly before week three. Ever since then, the date October 28 2018 had been circled by both teams as the ‘Minkah Fitzpatrick’ revenge game.
The Dolphins were determined to play spoiler against Fitzpatrick’s new team, while the safety and the Steelers were determined to show just how much better life was on the other side of the fence. Only one of those outcomes were fulfilled as Fitzpatrick got the last laugh against his former team in his new home of Heinz Field.
Fitzpatrick intercepted his former team twice and not only was it the first time since 2010 that a Steelers’ safety had recorded two interceptions in a game but both interceptions were crucial turning points in tipping the scale in the Steelers’ favour.
The first interception came right before the half as a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass bounced off the hands of tight end Nick O’Leary and right into the hands of the Steelers’ safety. The Steelers were down 14-3 at this point but Fitzpatrick’s interception would lead to their first touchdown of the night.
Fitzpatrick’s second interception did not initially seem like it would amount to much as he came down with the football after the Dolphins’ quarterback unloaded a pass down the field. The interception put the ball at the three-yard line but with the momentum that Fitzpatrick had provided them, the Steelers offense stormed 97-yards down the field to take a 17-14 lead.
The Dolphins scored just 14 points on Monday night and Fitzpatrick’s two interceptions matched the total output of his former team as the Steelers were able to score 14 points off his turnovers. The Steelers have not had a ballhawk at the safety position since Troy Polamalu retired but Fitzpatrick is showing just how much this defense has missed one, as his turnovers have electrified a defense that seemed very bland before his arrival.
The Steelers have now recorded 17 turnovers since Fitzpatrick’s arrival, matching the total they recorded through all of last season and the first two games they played this season without him. Fitzpatrick’s arrival has had a trickle-down effect on the defense and just as it is known that change always begins at the top, the change could not be more evident than at the top of the Steelers’ secondary.
Terrell Edmunds and Sean Davis recorded just two turnovers all of last season, with one interception apiece. Fitzpatrick not only matched that total entirely with his efforts on Monday but he has now doubled their output from all of last season in just five games. Through five games with his new team, Fitzpatrick has now recorded four turnovers with three interceptions and one forced fumble.
Another underlying bit from Monday’s contest is that Fitzpatrick helped spread more salt in the wounds of the Dolphins as the Steelers’ victory decreases the value of the first-round pick that they traded away for him.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and Fitzpatrick helped serve the Dolphins a cold dish of defeat on Monday night.