Minkah Fitzpatrick was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Thursday night against the Vikings and the Steelers star is unhappy with the refs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers looked as if they were going to get blown out on Thursday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings after going down 29-0. Obviously, they fought hard to get it back in striking distance and even had a chance to tie on the final drive. But safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (and many fans) are still angry over a call on the drive that put the Vikings up 29-0.
With Minnesota in the red zone, Kirk Cousins looked for wide receiver K.J. Osborn coming across the middle in the end zone. It was a good throw but the Steelers safety came in and delivered a big hit that jarred the ball loose. Then the laundry hit the field.
Minkah Fitzpatrick was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play. And even though Pittsburgh tightened up and kept the Vikings out of the end zone, the penalty drew a lot of criticism because, frankly, it looked clean.
So on Saturday, it was no surprise when Fitzpatrick took to Twitter to call out the refs for such a bad call.
Very poor officiating. Calls like this can change the outcomes of games. Football is a violent sport. People will get hit hard legally. Receivers running across the middle know what they signed up for. It’s a part of the game. https://t.co/07wFfOxLa1
— Minkah Fitzpatrick (@minkfitz_21) December 11, 2021
Steelers: Minkah Fitzpatrick calls out refs for awful call vs. Vikings
Protecting players in the NFL is of paramount importance — that’s an undeniable fact. With that said, Fitzpatrick definitely has a point.
While there should indeed be limitations to what defensive players can do when a pass-catcher is coming across the middle of the field, the fact of the matter is that just delivering a big, legal hit makes a defender’s job nearly impossible.
Particularly on the play against the Vikings, Fitzpatrick hit Osborn in the body below the neck and wasn’t leading with his own head as well. While Minnesota may have only gotten a field goal out of that drive, the Steelers safety is right — those types of calls by officials can change games.
There has seemingly been more of an outcry regarding this as of late and it’ll be curious to see if we have any rule changes coming for 2022 as a result.