During his weekly press conference on Tuesday Coach Mike Tomlin referred to this week’s game against the Browns as a ‘hot button game,’ one the team doesn’t run away from, but rather runs towards.
It’s like that in the AFC North, where the rivalries are just that, ‘hot button’ rivalries. And the players enjoy them as much as Tomlin.
“That’s why we play, for games like these types of games,” said Minkah Fitzpatrick. “You know it’s going to be competitive. You know the other team is going to go in there with a chip on their shoulder. It’s going to be about who is going to execute the most, who is going to be the most physical, who is going to outperform the entire game.”
Fitzpatrick said the AFC North rivalries remind him somewhat of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry, but it’s a different feel at the NFL level.
“It kind of does. College and the NFL is different,” said Fitzpatrick. “But it has that type of feel. Cleveland is a good team. An AFC north opponent. You see them twice a year.
“I enjoy playing in them, but for me week to week it’s the next game. The most important game of the season is the next one. The rivalry is awesome and cool and we love it. For me it’s the next game that’s the most important.”
The Browns beat the Steelers, 21-7, two weeks ago in Cleveland, and that has Steelers players feeling a little something extra this week.
“We are going to go in there with a chip on our shoulder,” said Fitzpatrick. “They beat us the first game. We didn’t play our best game. We are going to have a chip on our shoulder and be ready to play.”