Labriola on win over Oakland

This is what championship contenders do.

When a team is at the crossroads, when it seems in danger of veering off onto Here We Go Again Avenue, which of course always leads right onto Down The Tubes Drive, this is how it gets itself back on the straight-and-narrow. This is how it gets itself back on course.

The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in something of an uncomfortably familiar situation as last Sunday dawned. They were re-living the turning point of their 2009 season, one that had brought them to this same crossroads.
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Last year, 6-3 became 6-4 on the way to 6-7. What would become of this season's 6-3? That was all anyone was thinking about as the Steelers and Raiders squared off at Heinz Field.

A loss to the Raiders was among the five that took the Steelers to Down The Tubes Drive last year, but this season's version of Al Davis' franchise is a much more formidable one. If that loss to the Raiders qualified as a what-the-$#@* moment for the 2009 Steelers, what happened last Sunday deserves to be considered a quality win.

It was every bit of that, high quality even, to the tune of the widest margin in the history of a series that's been about hate since day one, 35-3.

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