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Dupree, Fitzpatrick towered over Indianapolis Sunday

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Sunday’s close win against the Colts was a defensive battle throughout. The back-and-forth game was not decided until the last minute when Colts place kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a probable game-winning field goal.

With defense playing such a key, two Steelers picked a good time to play arguably their best game in a black and gold uniform, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and rush end Bud Dupree.

Pittsburgh only scored two touchdowns in the win and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick scored one of them on a pick-six. The Colts took a 10-3 lead in the second quarter and were driving for another touchdown. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer took over after Jacoy Brissett was hurt.

The Colts drove 45 yards had first down at the Steelers 20 yard line when Hoyer tried to hit tight end Jack Doyle in the end zone. Fitzpatrick spied the pass and picked it clean at the four yard line. There was nothing between him and the end zone as he bolted 96 yards for the touchdown,  tying the game at 10-10. It was the second-longest pick-six in Steelers’ regular-season history.

“I was just reading the quarterback. He looked right first, then hard left then back. I started drifting that way. When he let go of the ball, I just broke on it,” Fitzpatrick said. “I was thinking I could score. We needed that play in this game.”

Besides the big interception, Fitzpatrick had seven tackles, a tackle-for-loss, and a pass-defended. He feels the defense needs to continue to excel, not matter what the situation.

“Anytime we can make a big play [on defense] that’s a big swing of momentum,” Fitzpatrick said. “We just have to go out there, no matter how many times, or what the score is, we still have to execute at a high level. That’s what defenses are meant for. If [the opposing team] doesn’t score, they can’t win.”

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin credited Fitzpatrick in living up to his expectations.

"Minkah needs no endorsement from me," Tomlin said. "The tape is his story-teller. He has been really rock-solid.”

Dupree has been playing perhaps his best season this year. He continued to excel on Sunday. He had two sacks, three tackles, and a forced fumble in which he recovered.

The Colts took the kickoff to start the third quarter. They drove to the Steelers 35 yard line and went for it on fourth-and-four. Hoyer took the snap in the shotgun but was pressured right after the snap.

He tried to get away but Dupree sacked him, causing a fumble. He pounced on the loose ball to complete the strip sack and snuffed out the Colts drive. The Steelers scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession to take a 20-16 lead. Dupree has been focusing on beating his man when he is only facing one defender.

“I just tried to win all the one-on-ones. Every game me and my teammates have something to prove,” Dupree said. “Coach [Mike] Tomlin puts emphasis on making plays at opportune times.”

“I’ve tried to raise my game to a different level. It’s in the preparation,” Dupree said. “I want to create havoc. I just try to play my hardest and do my best. The defense has had moments where they’ve come together as a unit and made stuff happen.”

Tomlin also praised Dupree after the win.

"[Dupree] has been a monster. He [and T.J. Watt] have been setting the pace off  the edge and really providing the wave that the read of us get to ride defensively," Tomlin said. "That's the nature of the outside linebacker in our scheme. When you draft  them in round one, that is what they are supposed to look like in their mid-twenties."  

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