I'm not saying that happens here. What I am saying is that the Steelers aren't in as much trouble as people think. Let's just say Pittsburgh beats the Falcons to reach .500. Then what? Then they knock off Oakland on Oct. 29 and remain no worse than a loss behind Cincinnati and Baltimore in the AFC North when they face Denver at home on Nov. 5.
And that's where we find out about this club.
But forget about Denver. The subject is Pittsburgh, and the Steelers finally are out of their rut. So the Chiefs aren't one of the best clubs out there. They're not one of the worst, either. In fact, they had the league's third-ranked defense before they were ravaged for 457 yards by Pittsburgh.
Which is precisely the point: Pittsburgh won the way it's used to winning. It ran the ball. It controlled the line of scrimmage. It controlled the clock. It dominated on defense. It made few mistakes. And when it passed, it passed effectively.
I know there's a lot of talk about Roethlisberger, but this goes far beyond what he's able to do. There's the play of running back Willie Parker. And the defense. And, most important, an offensive line that protects Big Ben and opens the door for Parker.
In short, the line is back to where it should be after a dreadful performance against Jacksonville. The key for Pittsburgh is what happens up front, and what happened there Sunday was that the Steelers dominated their opponent so completely you wonder if this is the springboard they've been looking for.
All I know is that Pittsburgh's much-maligned offense was back on track and a defense that was missing one of its premier performers, linebacker Joey Porter, just scored as many touchdowns (one) as it allowed. So be careful, people, before writing this team off.
The Steelers do things in bunches, running the table after falling to 7-5 last season and winning 15 of 16 the year before. You don't want to play them when they're hot, and it's too soon to tell if they are -- but the signs aren't good for upcoming opponents.
"Hey, it's only one game," said Whisenhunt. "It was big for us, but the key will be if we can sustain it. One game doesn't mean anything."
But it could. It did a year ago.