Free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick ‘happy’ with his performance in Steelers debut | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

Free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick ‘happy’ with his performance in Steelers debut

Kevin Gorman
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AP
Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) returns a turnover against San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
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AP
Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019.

Minkah Fitzpatrick was traded to a new team, received a crash course in a new playbook and terminology and made his starting debut for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the span of six days.

So, the second-year free safety was pretty pleased with his performance on Sunday at the San Francisco 49ers, when he finished with five tackles (four solo), an interception, forced fumble, pass breakup and a quarterback hit in the 24-20 loss.

“I was happy with it. I think I did overall a pretty a good job for two days, three days of practice,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m just excited about continuing to grow with the defense because it is a very good defense, very well-coached, very well-rounded. I’m so excited to keep growing up and keep getting better.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made note of Fitzpatrick’s play at his weekly news conference, saying he was “really impressed by his ability to learn and learn in a short period of time and to absorb the number of snaps he was able to absorb.”

A second week of practice should only help Fitzpatrick, who picked off a Jimmy Garoppolo pass intended for Dante Pettis that was deflected by cornerback Joe Haden in the first quarter that helped set up a Chris Boswell 26-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 6-0 lead. Fitzpatrick forced a fumble by Raheem Mostert after a 10-yard on the first play of the second quarter that was recovered at the Steelers 13.

“It will be good to get him some additional time and to be able to continue for him to learn the depths of what it is we do and have a better understanding,” Tomlin said. “I don’t think that’s going to do anything but aid him in terms of his productivity and us collectively as he gains some footing back there, particularly working with (strong safety Terrell) Edmunds.”

Fitzpatrick said he didn’t want to overanalyze, so he focused on playing fast and physical. As much as he was content with his debut — and said he wasn’t dwelling on any mistakes — Fitzpatrick believes he still has room for improvement.

“It’s always good to look at what you did well, so you can keep focusing on those areas,” Fitzpatrick said. “But, for the most part, you have to focus on what you can fix and what you can do better so that you get better week to week.”

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Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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