Take a long pipe with a several ms of delay. Run a single TCP flow across it. Observe that your flow gets nowhere near line rate, but instead it sawtooths against line rate and leaves the link idle for a significant amount of time.
Yes, a single flow is a corner case but not not an outrageous one. The behavior also holds true for a small number of flows, especially if they experience identical end to end delays.
So there is the excuse you were missing.
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