Minkah Fitzpatrick has put a lid on a Steelers team that ranks 30th in run defense and 32nd in opponent yards per carry. The former Alabama All-American registered a career-high 14 tackles from his free safety position in the Steelers 19-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Fitzpatrick became the first Steelers defensive back with 14 tackles in a game since Bryant McFadden in 2010.

“We just minimized some of the explosion when they did break,” said head coach Mike Tomlin. “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.”

Tennessee ran for 201 yards, but only one run went longer than 15 yards thanks to some sure-handed tackling by Fitzpatrick. The fourth-year pro also recovered a fumble early in the second quarter, forcing his third turnover in four games. His 16 takeaways are the third-most in the NFL since 2019.

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Veteran defensive back Joe Haden spoke after the game about the impact Fitzpatrick has on the Steelers defense.

"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.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has totaled 102 tackles, the record for a Steelers safety is 105. Pittsburgh remains alive in the AFC North race and will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs next Sunday, Dec. 26.

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