A popular narrative that has emerged over the past few weeks in the nation's capital is that the Washington Football Team "broke" the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Why? Well, before Washington upset Pittsburgh in early December, the Steelers were 11-0. After falling to the Burgundy and Gold in Week 13, Pittsburgh would go on to lose four of its next five games, including an embarrassing AFC Wild Card round exit to the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday.

While that narrative might be just a feel-good story to tell for Washington fans, there is some truth to it -- at least according to Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Addressing the media on Thursday for the first time since Pittsburgh's season ended, Fitzpatrick was asked if there was a timeline -- or one specific moment -- he could point to as to when things spiraled downward for the Steelers.

"What was that first game we lost? The Washington game? Yeah, that game," Fitzpatrick said.

The numbers back up Fitzpatrick's point.

During the Steelers' 11-game winning streak to begin the season, Pittsburgh averaged 28.8 points per game, allowing just 17.1 per contest to their opponents.

Including to loss to Washington, Pittsburgh averaged just 19.8 points per game over the final five regular season matchups while the Steelers' opponents averaged 24.8 points per outing.

The Steelers were able to rack up 37 points against the Browns this past Sunday night, but all of those came with Cleveland playing with a large cushion after breaking open a 28-0 lead in the first quarter. Cleveland would still win by double digits, 48-37.


Fitzpatrick believes that Pittsburgh's struggles toward the end of the season have to do with one simple thing.

"We lacked execution overall," Fitzpatrick said. "We lacked execution in the pass game, in the run game, kind of got away from what we're used to doing. It's pretty much just being simple and executing the game plan.

"I think it was very simple the reasons we lost football games," he continued. "It wasn't like we were getting outplayed or outsmarted or outhustled. It was just a lack of execution on our part as players."