PITTSBURGH - The final stat sheets show the usual categories for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
Attempts (29), completions (18), yards (275), sacks (2), touchdowns (3), interceptions (0) and passer rating (127.8).
The summary could have included one more, borrowed from fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco:
Troy Polamalu brings down Oakland running back Darren McFadden.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Roethlisberger took a blow to the face mask from Oakland Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour in Sunday's 35-3 Steelers victory at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger was knocked to the turf, but had no lasting damage. Seymour was ejected from the game just before the first half ended.
The Steelers were celebrating a touchdown when Roethlisberger bumped into Seymour, who responded with the straight arm blow to Roethlisberger's mask.
"First and foremost, I apologize to my teammates," Seymour said. "You never want to do anything to hurt the team. It was just a natural reaction."
Roethlisberger wasn't the only one stunned.
"I haven't seen a quarterback get punched since I've been in this league after a play like that," coach Mike Tomlin said. "It was unfortunate."
"I got big-time respect for Richard Seymour as a football player," Tomlin said. "That guy's got an 11-year resume that's pretty impressive as a professional. I'm not going to let that play cloud my opinion on Richard Seymour. I think he's an awesome football player and a professional. It just got away from us, all parties involved today."
The NFL will undoubtedly hit Seymour with a hefty fine sometime this week. With the league cracking down on hits to the helmet in the course of full-speed play, they're not going to tolerate a deliberate hit after play had ended.
"I was not expecting that from him," said Roethlisberger, who was initially reluctant to discuss the subject.
He did admit he was surprised.
"Yeah, it blew my mind," Roethlisberger said. "We knew coming in that it was going to be a pretty physical game. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and extracurricular stuff. It was a physical-natured game."
One of the Raiders players suggested Roethlisberger said something to incite Seymour. Roethlisberger denied that.
"I just said let's get ready for the extra point," he said. "I just remember trying to get between guys, let's move on, we scored, let's go."
That time of year
It's late November, and the Heinz Field turf is showing its usual wear and tear.
The Steelers are on the road for the next two weeks and don't play at home again until Baltimore visits on Dec. 13.
In the meantime, Pitt and West Virginia play this Saturday afternoon and the four high school championships will also be held while the Steelers are away.
The center of the field is chewed up from the 20-yard line at the open end of the stadium to the 10-yard line at the opposite end.
"The field was absolutely atrocious," Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "I don't know what they're doing out there, but it is what it is."
Steelers players are encouraged to refrain from commenting on the field.
Late in the game, linebacker James Harrison was down on the turf, but he said it wasn't an injury issue.
"Just a little sand," he said. "You know that middle of the field is nothing but a sand pit, so when I hit the ground, it just all went in my eyes."
On the air
With 21 penalties (14 against the Steelers), referee Tony Corrente got almost as much air time as the play-by-play announcers.
At one point, Corrente had his microphone on as players pushed and shoved after a play.
The crowd heard him warn someone, "You get out of there or I'll throw you out." Then Corrente said to another official, "I lost my whistle. You got an extra one?"
When Oakland called a time out with 3:28 left in the fourth quarter, trailing 28-3, Corrente made a point to announce it was Oakland's final timeout "in regulation."
Overtime seemed to be an unlikely proposition at that point.
The NFL's crackdown on excessive violence has been well publicized, and it appears officials are erring on the side of caution.
Harrison was called for roughing the passer, a penalty that nullified an interception returned for a touchdown by Ike Taylor.
Harrison didn't appear to do anything wrong on the play.
"It was a good clean hit," Harrison said. "I don't know, I guess [the official] felt differently. The way I see it, I don't think it was a call-able flag. We'll see what happens with those once Wednesday gets here."
Safety Ryan Clark was penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit when replays showed his helmet struck Jacoby Ford in the back.
To add injury to the insult, Clark was also injured on the play.
He returned two snaps later.
"I'm not going to question the officiating," Tomlin said. "I understand the climate that we're in from that standpoint. I'm just not going to do it. Our guys are not going to do it. We're going to play football and we're going to try to play as fairly as we can, as cleanly as we can."
Woodley admitted that he tried to hold back a bit because of the new enforcement, but said there's a limit to how much the players can do.
"Just continue to go out here and play football," he said. "Because if we start letting penalties affect the way we play, we're not going to be the aggressive football team that we've always been."
New kicker Shaun Suisman had an easy first game.
He wasn't called upon to attempt a field goal and made all five of his extra point attempts.
Susiman was signed earlier in the week after Jeff Reed was released.
SUBHEAD: Different look
Oakland didn't run any wildcat offense, after having some success with it during their three-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, the Steelers unveiled a couple of gadget plays.
Early in the game, there was a direct snap to Antwaan Randle El, who pitched the ball back to Roethlisberger.
The play failed when Roethlisberger's pass to Hines Ward misfired.
Later, Mike Wallace gained 19 yards on an end around.
SUBHEAD: Can't catch him
The speedy Wallace had a 52-yard catch and run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, blowing through three defenders on his way to end zone.
"I couldn't really see it, but Charlie Batch told me that when (Wallace) turned it up, nobody was going to stop him," Roethlisberger said. "I'm excited to see it on film. From my angle, I thought he just was going to get the first down. Charlie said he put his foot in the ground and he was gone. It's fun to play with him."
Wallace had his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game and his fourth this season.
SUBHEAD: Kiddie corps
For the first time this season, the Steelers used both young receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.
The two rookies had been an either-or propositon before Sunday.
"We haven't been bashful about how we've pitted those two against each other all year," Tomlin said. "'Two dogs one bone' is the phrase we've been using. We had an opportunity to put a (helmet) on both of them today.
"They've grown because of the competition. They've driven each other. They are talented young men. They are not finished products, but it's not too big for them. I like where they are. They have a way to go. We're going to continue to use whatever motivational ploy necessary to keep those guys on the call."
Sanders caught two passes for 35 yards, 22 yards on one play.
Brown had one reception for 21 yards.
Brown returned seven punts for 66 yards, an average of 9.4 yards with a long return of 20 yards.
"They're playing a lot better," Roethlisberger said. "Emmanuel had a drop along the sideline on a third down. He tried to dive instead of just running through it.
"I told him he was better than that, and he shouldn't think that I wasn't going back to him. The next third down, I came back to him and he caught it for a first down.
"Antonio came in and caught the one over the middle. He ran a route that he probably shouldn't have and made it a hard throw and hard catch. He could have had an easier catch."
Roethlisberger credited the veteran leadership of Hines Ward and Randle El with helping the development of the rookie receivers.
On one punt return, Randle El was yelling instructions to Brown just before the kick.
SUBHEAD: Back on track
One week after his streak of catching passes ended at 186 games, Ward caught three for 28 yards.
Ward was knocked out of last week's game with a concussion and didn't have a reception.
SUBHEAD: Shuffling the line
Tonlin chose to start Ramon Foster at right guard over Trai Essex.
"It was based solely on performance," Tomlin said. "Trai was below the line. We felt like Ramon gave us a better shot today. We like his tenacity. We'll assess his work and proceed from there.
"We're not going to be bashful about what it is we need to do here. We need quality play. We need winning performances from everyone."
Essex was a third-round draft pick in 2005. Foster made the team as a free agent last season.
SUBHEAD: Injury report
Tomlin said the team escaped the game in relatively good health.
Center Maurkice Pouncey missed part of the game with a thigh injury.
"He had a knee-to-knee with somebody," Tomlin said. "it's a contusion. Hopefully it won't be a long-term thing. I don't think it will be. The rest of the stuff is bumps and bruises."
SUBHEAD: Stats and streaks
The 32-point margin represented the largest victory by either team in the series.
The Steelers' 14 penalties did not approach NFL history. In 1944, the Chicago Bears overcame 22 penalties in a victory.