Labriola on win over Carolina

This is a season they began without him, and they are where they are today because of how well they handled that. But as December is melting into January and the 32 are being whittled to only 12, it's his turn. His time.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got themselves to 11-4 with a workmanlike performance against a completely out-manned Carolina Panthers group on Dec. 23 at Heinz Field. The difference between a championship contender and an opponent with a bead on the next No. 1 overall draft pick would seem to be more than 27-3, but it was enough to entertain 61,748 who either had all their Christmas shopping done or didn't care that they didn't. Either way, it was a fun few hours.

The Steelers have a chance to finish with as many as 12 regular season wins for only the eighth time in franchise history, but this is not a team without flaws. When Coach Mike Tomlin says in just about every postgame something along the lines of, "We are far from perfect but found a way to win," nobody thinks him guilty of poor-mouthing.

Yes, there are weaknesses in this Steelers team, but that's where he comes in.

The Steelers began this season believing Ben Roethlisberger wasn't the difference between winning and losing. Now would be the perfect time for him to prove them wrong.

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