PITTSBURGH - The most impressive thing about a game in which Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes wasn't the quarterback play.
Rather it was the way the Pittsburgh Steelers coaches recognized the team's limitations, then adjusted to compensate for them.
The strategy to get rid of the ball quickly came from the staff's frustration with the offensive line's inability to provide adequate protection.
So they came up with a plan to counter that shortcoming and had success.
That's the way things are supposed to work.
My first encounter with Al Davis came on Jan. 4, 1976, when I was helping with coverage of the AFC Championship game between his Oakland Raiders and the Steelers.
I had Raiders' locker room duty and it was impossible not to notice that Davis was angry.
The Raiders lost, 16-10, and he was convinced he'd been done in by dirty tricks.
Part of the field along one sideline was frozen. The grounds crew blamed a piece of tarp that had been loosened by the overnight wind.
Davis said it was a plot to neutralize Raiders receivers.
Davis also had a beef with the clock operator. He contended the man was letting seconds tick off after each whistle to help the Steelers protect the lead.
He paced through the Raiders' locker room, ranting and cursing. He pleaded his case to anyone carrying a notebook or microphone.
When one writer nodded in seeming agreement about the clock, Davis immediately locked in on the guy, asking, "What's your name? Where are you from?"
From that point on, every time he complained about the clock, Davis would invoke the name of the writer as someone who had noticed the same thing.
In his mind, that assent proved a conspiracy against the Raiders.
Davis suspected others of dirty tricks because that's what he would have done, given the chance.
"Just win, baby" wasn't just a slogan for his team, it was a way of life for Davis.
He was back at Heinz Field with the Raiders a few years ago, looking old and frail. When a reporter approached him, big guys in suits suddenly appeared to steer Davis away while a publicity guy barked, "He has no comment."
Davis was in fragile health and he appeared to be confused.
It had been a long time since that cold day in early 1976 when his rage was on display.
Was Davis good for the NFL? No. His selfish lawsuits chipped away at the unity that made the league so successful.
But was he good for the Raiders? Absolutely.
They wouldn't have been the Raiders without Al Davis.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org