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Le'Veon Bell, Cameron Heyward grab top marks from Pro Football Focus in loss to Saints

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Lost in the disappointment of a tough defeat at the hands of the Saints were a few excellent performances.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Le'Veon Bell provided ample reason for Steelers fans to believe he's legitimately the top running back in the NFL in Sunday's loss to the Saints. With 254 total yards (eight catches and 159 yards receiving were both career highs), Bell had perhaps his best all-around individual performance of what's likely to be a first-team All Pro 2014 season.

Pro Football Focus, a plays evaluation web site, recognized that, giving Bell a 3.3 grade, the highest among the Steelers' offensive players in an otherwise bland game for the team.

Defensive end Cameron Heyward received the highest mark for the Steelers in the game, notching a 5.1 for his effort. Heyward was not placed on BTSC's Winners and Losers list, clearly a miss on our part. Upon a second viewing, Heyward looked like the player most felt he would be this season. Much like the rest of the Steelers' defense, it's been an up-and-down year for him, but this one was one of his finest.

Jason Worilds (3.0) and Lawrence Timmons (2.7) were the other top grades on defense. Cornerback William Gay (-4.5) had one of the worst games of his career, according to PFF, and linebacker Sean Spence (-2.7) also received a significantly negative mark.

Right tackle Mike Adams had the worst day among the Steelers, according to PFF, earning a -5.3. Some of that may have affected quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who's -4.7 is among the lowest of his career. Roethlisberger was among PFF's top quarterbacks heading into this game. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton had a -2.7, as Bell was the only Steelers offensive player over 1.0.

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