Patriots’ Dont’a Hightower coming off impressive performance

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FOXBOROUGH — It has been a tough second season for linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

The Patriots’ second first-round pick, taken 25th overall out of Alabama, has played in all 13 games, starting 11.

He’s had some solid outings, including a career-high 16 tackles (10 solo) and a quarterback hit against the Jets in Week 7. He followed that up with 12 tackles and a sack in the next game against the Dolphins.

But Hightower had zeroes across the board against the Saints, not credited with so much as a tackle assist, and was playing so poorly against the Broncos he was benched for Dane Fletcher in the second half.

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