Cameron Heyward - His best game as a pro, Heyward was a legitimate force inside, particularly against the pass. His rush defense wasn't ideal, as no one's was, but he played a very strong game.
Jerricho Cotchery - With tight coverage going around the Steelers' receiving corps, Cotchery made the most of a few single coverage looks, scoring three touchdowns (a career-high) and seven catches on eight targets.
Jason Worilds - He had more quarterback hits (two) than most Steelers are getting in two combined games. He was in on a sack as well, and flew to the ball...the times the Patriots weren't running for five yards a pop.
Ben Roethlisberger - the committee was swayed on Roethlisberger's inclusion due to two early turnovers, but he made some great throws in the second half. The Steelers looked like a revived offensive team during their no-huddle run from shotgun.
Guy Whimper - David DeCastro's rehabilitation plan is being ramped up as I type this. He simply cannot play that position with a $100 million quarterback in the backfield or a second-round running back behind him. We'll wait to watch it again but that could have been the worst game a Steelers offensive linemen has played in a while. That says a lot. Way too much.
William Gay - What goes up, must come down. Awful in coverage, missed tackles and looked physically dominated by all of New England's receivers, not just Rob Gronkowski (who made Gay look like he was a cat toy Velcroed to his cleat).
Troy Polamalu - Almost off the hook with a great forced fumble that nearly led the Steelers back into the game in the second half, but multiple blown assignments as well as multiple penalties didn't make Polamalu look any better than rookie Shamarko Thomas (who misses this list due to the curve on which it is graded. There are simply too many losers to include him in a pretty poor coverage game for him). Nah. Scratch that. Thomas is on here too.
Ryan Clark - He also gets some credit for a nice hit on Gronkowski - which appeared to be the only thing to stop him all night - but the lack of fluidity between the entire secondary seemed more apparent with Clark than with anyone else. He was out of position in the passing game all night, and all of them are going to need a bottle of Rolaids during film review.
Le'Veon Bell - Had a nice run or two but dropped a pass and blew an assignment that set up a critical third and long in the third quarter. It killed their momentum - how much ever of it they had.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers Slaughtered: Everything you need to know after 55-31 loss to New England
- Steelers postgame injury report: Williams, Taylor suffer concussions
- Whether it's the players or the coaches, shellacking shows Steelers need to move in a new direction
- Steelers need to answer the count after absorbing haymaker from Patriots
- Steelers vs. Patriots final score: New England wins 55-31, most points Pittsburgh has ever allowed in a game
- Vince Williams injury: rookie linebacker goes down with concussion, replaced by Stevenson Sylvester
- Marcus Gilbert injury: Steelers right tackle goes down in fourth quarter of Week 9 game vs. Patriots