Again, I don't have trouble meeting the difficulty metrics, this is more of a "postmodern" question about whether the metrics themselves are flawed.
For example, last year the wizard player came to me and said the game was too hard because he ends every adventuring day with only about 20% of his spells remaining, and that means I am cutting it close. I responded by saying something along the lines of "Good, that is exactly what I am shooting for!", which he (and several forum-goers) took as me just dismissing his concerns about the fundamental nature of the challenge I am shooting for, and now I seem to be having a similar conversation here, just the other way around.
At this point I am taking a break from GMing, so I am going to see how it plays out with someone else in the chair while I process everything I have learned.
I also found out today that two of the players in question were on mood altering prescription medication during their outbursts, so that problem might solve itself.
Note that it isn't about the PCs actually getting their butt-kicked, the PCs still win in the end and go through their ~80% party resources in an adventuring day.
I was just thinking that it might feel harder to actually deal with weaker monsters that use smart tactics vs. a big bruiser that just charges in and deals huge damage.