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.
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
- Lack of energy, enthusiasm seems like one of multiple root problems
- 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
- Winners and Losers from the Steelers' loss to New England in Week 9
- Steelers vs. Patriots final score: New England wins 55-31, most points Pittsburgh has ever allowed in a game