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Minkah Fitzpatrick: ‘I Should Have At Least Three’ Interceptions Right Now

One of the most important elements in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive turnaround in the past few seasons was the fact that they were able to produce a lot of takeaways. As good as the unit had been, there was a lot of ‘bend-but-don’t-break’ that relied on, eventually, taking the ball away.

They’re not getting those balls this year, for a variety of reasons, including from their top playmakers. The only reason that really bothers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, however, are the ones he had a shot at, but simply failed to finish.

“A couple of them do, because there’s plays that I missed, but the last couple of games, the plays didn’t come”, he told reporters after practice today about whether or not his lack of interceptions this season gets to him, via the team’s media department. “That happens. It happened my first year; it happened my second year. I made five picks, and four picks in like, 5-6 games, and then eight games it was nothing”.

Since being acquired via trade in week three of the 2019 season, Fitzpatrick has recorded nine interceptions, including five that year and four the following year, but he doesn’t have any so far through six games—for which he blames himself.

“It doesn’t really eat at me. I know they’re gonna come. I’ve just got to make the ones that do come”, he said. “I should have three right now, I know that. That eats at me more than the ones that might not come or may come in the future”.

There certainly have been some that he failed to complete. One ended up being popped into the air and intercepted by fellow safety Terrell Edmunds, but at least one other that I can think of off the top of my head simply fell incomplete.

“I’ve just got to catch what comes to me, make the plays that come my way, and just keep doing my job”, he said of his focus going forward, and not trying to push to take the ball away. “I was just talking to Coach T earlier today. I’ve just got to keep being in my position, keep doing what I do out there on the field and flying to the ball, and plays are gonna come my way”.

Although they have played one fewer game than most teams, the Steelers rank tied for 29th for the fewest takeaways thus far on the season with just five, including two interceptions—the one by Edmunds, and a game-sealing one by James Pierre. The other takeaways have been fumble recoveries, two of which were forced by T.J. Watt.

The Steelers are 0-3 in the games in which they have lost the turnover margin this season, and 3-0 in the games in which they had at least as many takeaways and giveaways. They do have at least one takeaway in four consecutive games, but they have at least one giveaway in five straight, including seven in that span. They are currently minus-two in turnover differential.

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