Steel City Underground presents "Steelers Throwback Thursday" featuring plays and stories from past seasons which you may have forgotten about! Now we're "bringing them back!"
With the Steel City Underground yearly awards coming out this week, I thought I would visit some plays from Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who won our Defensive MVP award for the 2019 season.
Highlighted here are two key plays that take us back to the immediate impact Minkah had on the field this season.
First, we travel back to Week 9 of the 2019 regular season. The Steelers were facing the Indianapolis Colts at home after losing Ben Roethlisberger one and a half months prior; the team found themselves with a 3-4 record, trying to claw their way back into relevancy.
The Steelers were down 10-3 to the Colts at the end of the first half. The Colts were driving down the field with backup QB Brian Hoyer under center. Just when it looked like the Steelers were going into halftime with a two-plus possession deficit, Hoyer threw a pass towards the end zone and Fitzpatrick picked off the ball.
He ran the interception back 96 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 10-10. The Steelers ended up winning 26-24 after Adam Vinatieri missed a last-second field goal, extending the Steelers win streak to three games and getting them back to .500 with an overall record of 4-4.
The very next week, the Steelers stayed at home, this time hosting the Los Angeles Rams.
Towards the end of the second quarter, the Steelers offense had just fumbled and gave the ball back to the Rams in a tied game, 7-7. Rams QB Jared Goff dropped back to pass and was met with pressure from Javon Hargrave.
Goff attempted to pass, but did not get the ball off in time to be ruled an incomplete pass, as the ball bounced about 10 yards from his attempt: Minkah was there to scoop up the ball and took it back 43 yards for his second-straight defensive score in two weeks.
The Steelers won in a low-scoring game, 17-12, to extend their win-streak to four games and brought them back into playoff contention.
These are two of the many immediate impact plays by Minkah, as the Steelers would not have won either game without the scoring help from the free safety. This propelled the Steelers as they found themselves in the middle of a 7-1 hot streak with a third (and fourth) string quarterback under center during that time.