PITTSBURGH, OCT. 1 -- Talk about your classic September swoons. The Pittsburgh Steelers were zero for the month.

They won a game, all right, thanks to their special teams and defense, but how many touchdowns has their offense scored in four games?

Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Score a touchdown? They didn't even come close.

"It's taking longer than I thought it would," Coach Chuck Noll said, referring to how long it's taken the Steelers (1-3) to learn Joe Walton's new offense. He also could have meant how long it's taken to score a touchdown.

Never before in Noll's 22 seasons had the Steelers offense gone three games without scoring a touchdown. Now they've gone four.

Where have all the touchdowns gone?

The Miami Dolphins, who beat the Steelers by 28-6 Sunday, think they know.

"The running backs were barking at the line, and {quarterback} Bubby {Brister} was telling his line, 'C'mon, protect me,' " Dolphins safety Louis Oliver said. "That gives you the okay to tee off on them."

The Steelers have become increasingly outspoken about the "think-and-dink" offense. Running back Tim Worley doesn't like it because he's not getting the ball. Brister doesn't like it because he's not throwing the ball deep.

Noll said that doesn't matter, because football teams aren't democracies.

"There is no possibility of going back" to the old offense, Noll said. "We're on the course we're on and it's that way for the year. We're into this and we're going that way."

After the New York Jets fired Walton as head coach last season, Noll thought he was the perfect choice to lead the Steelers offense -- ridiculed by Brister in 1988 for being too predictable -- into the 1990s.

"When you prepared for him defensively, it was difficult," Noll said. "He had an offense that possessed the football. They threw the football quite a bit but they also ran the football. Those are the things we like to have. . . . But it looks like it's taking longer than I thought it would."

Some Steelers say the slump has ruined the psyche of the team.

"Nobody got upset," cornerback Rod Woodson said of Sunday's game. "We were passive. If you don't have emotions, you're not going to do well. We were down 14-0 and people were walking on the field with their head down."

Woodson said the answer might be a players-only meeting.

Noll said he's not junking the offense, but will slim it down so the Steelers practice a lot of a little, not a little of a lot. But he won't change systems -- not for the short term, not for the long term.

"It's not the system," he said. "But change is something people resist. They say, 'It's been good for me all these years, why do I have to change?' A lot of times you resist change, but when it changes, it happens for the better. That's what we're after . . . for the long term."