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Jerricho Cotchery, Cameron Heyward earn top PFF marks vs. Patriots

Cotchery and Heyward are both climbing the charts at their respective positions in comparison with the rest of the league. It's a different story for the Steelers' secondary.

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Jared Wickerham

The presence of Cameron Heyward along the Steelers' defensive line was apparent despite the savage beating the Steelers took at the hands of the New England Patriots in Week 9.

Heyward was credited with two quarterback hurries and hits, and made three stops, earning a +3.0 grade from the play evaluation web site, Pro Football Focus.

He was the top Steelers defender in terms of grades. It was the fourth time this season he graded positively, and the third of the last four games - the first four starts he's made this season.

Heyward's impressive play is one of the bright spots among a struggling Steelers defense. According to PFF, he ranks 15th in the NFL among 3-4 defensive ends with a +6.1 overall grade.

Jerricho Cotchery earned the top spot among Steelers' offensive players, earned a +3.1 to lead all Steelers players. He scored three touchdowns in the loss, grabbing a team-high seven catches in the process. Cotchery has an +8.5 overall score, good for 12th in the NFL.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu was the lowest graded Steelers player in the loss picking up a -4.2, the second-lowest grade of his career, just missing the -4.5 the site tagged him with in a Steelers loss at New Orleans in 2010. Cornerback William Gay had a -3.8, and Ryan Clark had a -3.0.

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