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Minkah Fitzpatrick On Loss: ‘Good Teams Always Come Together In Times Like This’

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a crushing 16-10 defeat to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night in Miami, dropping the team to 2-5 on the season. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett and the offense struggled immensely, and two late turnovers cost them the game. On the other side of the ball, the defense mostly contained Miami’s high-powered offense, pitching a shutout in the second half and keeping them out of the end zone after the game’s first drive. Of their five losses, four have an eerily similar script of poor offensive play not complementing good defensive play. When asked if this repetitiveness is frustrating, All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick stressed the importance of growing from it rather than shrinking.

“It’s frustrating,” Fitzpatrick said in a post-game interview when asked if the repetitive storyline is frustrating according to a tweet by Steelers Live. “But we’re doing good things. This is a point in the season where we could either come closer and let it bind together, and then move forward and just start stacking wins or we could let it hurt us, start pointing fingers and licking splinters, but you know, good teams always come together in times like this.”

Dating back to last season and arguably back to 2019, the Steelers have employed a defense-first philosophy. With high-end talent in All-Pro defensive end Cameron Heyward and reigning Defensive Player of the Year in T.J. Watt, as well as Fitzpatrick and others, this is understandable. However, it comes with a cost, which the team has arguably incurred in almost each of their losses this season. That is, a stagnant offense will not win many games with a low point total, especially when the defense is missing its top player. The old saying that the best defense is offense is one that this team may have to take a look at moving forward.

During head coach Mike Tomlin’s tenure in Pittsburgh, the team has had its fair share of rough stretches. However, a 2-5 start may just be the worst one to date, especially given their abysmal offense. As a young team without the previous veteran leadership of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, this team has a tall task ahead.

As Fitzpatrick said, it’s important for the team to bind together and grow from a victory like this. The last thing the team needs is a locker room storyline with fingers being pointed for losses, and it’s a veteran move by the All-Pro safety to not do so. For Pickett, the fourth-quarter interceptions will be a hard lesson to learn, but it’s one he stated that he is willing to after the game.

From a talent perspective, this is a roster that is every bit capable of competing. The talent on the defense speaks for itself, and this team’s offensive line is arguably outperforming expectations. This team also invested heavily in skill positions in recent drafts, as running back Najee Harris, tight end Pat Freiermuth, and receivers George Pickens and Chase Claypool were picked early in the past several drafts. Given that the talent is there, and the offense is getting more reps and chemistry together, things may improve. After Sunday’s performance, there may just be no way to go but up. It would be hard for things to get much worse.

This is by no means a bad team, as many of their losses were tightly contested. Indeed, four of the team’s five losses have come in close games where victory was one of two offensive drives away. While 2-5 looks disparaging, and facing the NFL’s only undefeated team on the road in the Philadelphia Eagles looks tough, the season may not be over. The team is likely getting back Watt after its bye week in Week 9. With Watt in the lineup, the defense racked up seven sacks and four interceptions against All-Pro Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow. Best case scenario, the Miami game is looked back on as the one where the team took the much-needed look in the mirror and turned things around. The contrary is also possible, and it will remain to be seen how this team handles this loss.

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