Last time I wrote about the Steelers I said they had four big problems: (1) A porous offensive line, (2) a running back (Bettis) who was inconstantly used, and (3) a secondary that couldn’t cover my grandmother—either of them, and one of them’s dead—and (4) wild, highly suspect play-calling.

I am happy to report that we have the offensive line problem fixed, at least temporarily. Against the 49ers last night, Tommy Maddox had tons of time to throw (with one blitzing exception) and wound up with 327 yards and only one, not-his-fault INT. Unfortunately, none of the other issues seem to have been dealt with and the anemic Steelers dropped a 30-14 decision in lackluster fashion.

Unbelievably, the Steelers may still win the AFC North if they run the table from here on out. They’d finish 9-7 with the edge in divisional tie-breaks and could still go to the show. I’m not saying that’s probable, even though every team they face from here on out is .500 or worse. Indeed, I think such a scenario, in light of the problems I’ve outlined above, is highly unlikely.

As disappointments go, this season ranks up there pretty highly. But name me a better 3-7 NFL team? Oakland? The Jets? Arizona? No, no, my friend, it’s Pittsburgh. And I can say that with the high degree of confidence that comes from being a die-hard fan. For example, next week we play Cleveland. If I may be so bold as to predict an outcome, after next Sunday I think we’ll be well on our way to being the best 3-8 team ever. Indeed, we may finish the season as the best 3-13 team of all-time. Steelers fans everywhere will be contemplating such greatness over large quantities of beer for some time to come. Some of us already are.