The Pittsburgh Steelers had a stellar defensive performance forcing five turnovers on their way to a 23-20 overtime victory over the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. Despite a great team effort on defense, one player in particular was noted above the rest. For Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, Minkah Fitzpatrick was selected the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Fitzpatrick made a number of big plays for the Steelers defense throughout Sunday’s contest. On the second play of the Bengals first possession of the game, Fitzpatrick intercepted quarterback Joe Burrow and returned it 31 yards for the Steelers first score of the 2022 season. Defensively, Fitzpatrick led the Steelers with 14 tackles while playing 100 snaps.
But it was not merely Fitzpatrick‘s contributions on defense which were noted as he also made a game-saving play on special teams. With 0:02 remaining in the game and the Bengals lined up for what would be a game-winning PAT, Fitzpatrick was the player who came around the defensive right side and got his hand on the ball in order to block the kick and send the game into overtime.
Since joining the Steelers via trade in 2019, Fitzpatrick has been selected to two Pro Bowls as well as being named First-Team All-Pro in 2019 and 2020. This offseason, Fitzpatrick signed a contract extension keeping him in Pittsburgh for the next five seasons.
Congratulations to Minkah Fitzpatrick on the recognition of a great game to start the 2022 NFL season.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the New England Patriots this Sunday at Acresure Stadium.