(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The Steelers have struggled in the second half in their last two games, both of which ended in losses. They led 14-3 at halftime against the Washington Football Team and allowed Washington to drive down the field on a 14-play, 82-yard drive that was capped off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Peyton Barber on the first possession of the second half. Washington outscored the Steelers 20-3 in the second half and won the game, 23-17.
On Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers were down 9-7 at halftime and allowed the Bills to score a touchdown on their first two possessions of the second half. The Bills scored 23 unanswered points after the Steelers took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter and ultimately won the game, 26-15.
"What happens in the second half is a lot of us not executing, not paying attention to the details," Minkah Fitzpatrick said on Thursday in a Zoom interview with the media. "It's late in the season, guys are beat up, guys are hurt, guys are mentally tired. It's not an excuse, but it's something we try to fix and correct.
"Any game is close when we give up big plays on defense. We could be holding them the entire game and then like what happened against Buffalo, where I missed a tackle and they ran it for 20 plus yards. They got in good field position. When plays like that happen it puts teams in good position. It gives them extra juice. It all starts with stopping those big plays that happen. We watched some film over the last five games, and we see it's a trend when we are not doing well is when we give up one or two big plays a game."
Fitzpatrick said they'll hone in on the details to limit the big plays that they've allowed in their last two games, in particular in the second half of those games.
"The conversations are more detail-oriented because I feel like we lost because we strayed away from that," Fitzpatrick said. "That is what happens when big plays happen, the small little details you weren't paying attention to. That is what gets you beat. The conversation is more detailed-oriented, more solution-oriented. Talking about the problems. We have great leadership in Coach (Mike) Tomlin, the OC and DC, and from the vet guys. We are a very solution-oriented team. That is what we are going to focus on."