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Fitzpatrick calls out Steelers: We need more players who want to work for it

Joe Sargent / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick called out his teammates' heart and effort following Thursday's loss to the New England Patriots.

"In order to see the fruit, you've gotta toil for it," Fitzpatrick said postgame, according to ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "I think too many people don't want to toil for it. They just want to walk out here and think that they're going to make plays and think that they're going to perform at a high level."

He added: "I think we need to have more people who want to work for it, not expect it to be handed to them."

Despite the Patriots entering Thursday's game with just 13 points scored in their last three contests, they put up 21 against the Steelers. Pittsburgh's defense allowed zero points in the second half, but the offense couldn't come back from an 11-point halftime deficit.

The 21-18 loss is the Steelers' second consecutive home defeat to a team that entered the matchup with only two wins. Pittsburgh dropped to 7-6 on the season with losses to basement dwellers Arizona Cardinals and Patriots, jeopardizing its playoff hopes.

Fitzpatrick added that the entitlement of some players has contributed to the team's struggles and needs to be corrected.

"I think that dudes just think that because they're wearing the black and gold, that they're going to win games, and I think we need to check that mentality and make people realize that they got to earn that mentality, and they got to earn every single blade of grass, every single splash play, and every single rep that they get out there," Fitzpatrick said. "They got to earn it."

Thursday's defeat moved the Steelers out of a playoff spot, sliding them down to the conference's No. 8 seed. However, head coach Mike Tomlin said postgame that Pittsburgh will recover, adding, "This stings, but we'll be back."

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