Following his Week 2 performance against the Cleveland Browns, many in the NFL media were calling Minkah Fitzpatrick 'dirty' because of his tackle on running back, Nick Chubb. As defensive backs are taught to do, Fitzpatrick went low on Chubb in a tackle attempt when the Browns were in the red zone. It just so happened that Chubb was planting his foot at that time, and the collision resulted in a serious knee injury.
Fitzpatrick fielded questions about this all week from the media -- insisting that he had no ill intentions on the hit to Chubb (something we all knew in the first place). Now, just one week later, another controversial hit from Fitzpatrick is one of the biggest storylines of the Steelers vs. Raiders game in Week 3.
Late in the game with the Raiders driving, Fitzpatrick came in on a safety blitz and hammered Jimmy Garoppolo in the backfield. This awesome play by the All-Pro safety was penalized for roughing the quarterback -- a call that had fans all riled up.
Ironically, in the same game, Kenny Pickett was clubbed in the head after delivering the ball, but no penalty was called. In back-to-back weeks, it's been Minkah Fitzpatrick who has been involved in two controversial hits, but make no mistake: he's not a dirty football player.
Steelers safety can't catch a break
Fitzpatrick has to be getting frustrated at this point. With the low hit on Chubb and the high hit on Garoppolo, I'm sure Minkah is wondering where to go the next time an opportunity presents itself to make a play.
What is a good tackle in today's NFL? There seems to be no consistency with some of these rules, and Fitzpatrick should have never been penalized for the hit that would have been a sack on Jimmy Garoppolo. I'm sure Mike Tomlin is telling him to shake it off and put it behind him. After all, Minkah didn't do anything wrong.
What's most important is that the Pittsburgh Steelers still came away from Week 3 with a win against the Raiders -- even if the officials had some questionable calls that allowed the Raiders to hang in the game. We just hope that we can avoid these judgment-call situations like this.
Nobody should be hard on Minkah Fitzpatrick for either of the so-called 'dirty' hits he made over the past two games. The All-Pro safety is out there playing full speed and trying to make plays. He's not in the business of trying to intentionally injure opposing players.