Hightower touched the ball just twice, once on a rush and once on a reception. He gained a total of one yard.
If coach Ken Whisenhunt's intent was to send a message that Hightower needs to hang on to the ball, it was received.
Asked about his limited role, Hightower cracked a little smile.
"Limited?" he said. "Was it frustrating? Yeah, it was frustrating. You work hard all week, practice hard, prepare play a football game. I don't think it was something that caught me completely off guard.
"We're trying to stress the importance of ball security and us limiting our turnovers. A competitor wants to be on the football field making plays, especially when you feel like your team is struggling out there."
Hightower has lost three fumbles this season, including one against Seattle two weeks ago that ended a promising drive.
Over the past two years, Hightower has lost seven fumbles and dropped several more that either he or a teammate recovered.
Beanie Wells started in his place but carried only 50 yards on 16 carries. Three weeks ago, Wells complained about his playing time. Since then, he has averaged 2.78 yards a carry.
"The game speed is definitely a lot different than practice," said Schofield, a fourth-round pick from Wisconsin. "On my first play, I kind of got a little beat on a kickoff return, and after that, I'm like, 'OK, I'm ready to go.' I got my speed up, and I think I did some good things out there."