The Raiders began the process of putting a 35-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in perspective Monday, a day after their hopes of validating their status as a re-emerging power crumbled against a superior opponent in a hostile venue.
Being that the loss came after three straight wins, the general feeling is that it won’t have the same effect as a one-sided loss would have had in past years.
“It’s not about, `we’ve got to figure out how we can win,’ ‘’ fullback Marcel Reece said. “It’s not that type of issue. We know we can win. We know we can win against good teams. We know it’s about going back and doing it.’’
“That’s football,’’ said cornerback Stanford Routt with a shrug. “Yeah, it was pretty ugly. Offense, defense, special teams. . . but we’ve got Miami this week, plain and simple.’’
Reserve running back and core special teams player Rock Cartwright said coach Tom Cable’s postgame message was simple and direct.
“That wasn’t us. We didn’t play the way we normally play,’’ Cartwright said. “Take it in stride, put it behind us, and go forward with the next game because you can’t beat a dead horse. We’ll go and watch the tape, go forward and get ready for Miami this week.’’
More news, notes and quotes from Monday’s open locker room session:
—There was no sign of Richard Seymour in the Raiders’ locker room Monday. Seymour was ejected with 1:23 to go in the half for an open-handed punch in the face of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Seymour, who was fined $7,500 last year for pulling the hair of Denver tackle Ryan Clady and another $10,000 for hitting a Cleveland player after the whistle last season, will almost certainly be fined again and could face suspension. He told reporters he was sorry for letting his team down following the game.
Linebacker Quentin Groves thought Roethlisberger to be an unfortunate victim in an ongoing tussle between Seymour and Pittsburgh guard Chris Kemoeatu.
“As I saw the replay, I see what happened. The thing was, all the offensive linemen, as well as some of us, were getting chippy because they were chipping after the whistle,’’ Groves said. “And then Richard, as Ben goes and tries and break the fight up, Richard reacts. That’s just a reaction that a fighter has, and that’s what he is, a fighter. To react like that is just a basic combination.”
Roethlisberger made no mention of attempting to be a peacemaker following the game.
Seymour’s ejection was only the most visible indiscretion in game full of pushing, shoving and flared tempers.
“We want to turn it into a street fight, but, you know. I don’t like the ejection. I’ll say that. That’s frustrating. They were doing stuff to us, they just caught the one act that we do, and they want to throw a guy out. Which I think is huge,’’ safety Mike Mitchell said. “He’s one of our better players, a leader on our team. We want to turn everything into a street fight and we didn’t win it. So shame on us.’’
Speaking about the possibility of a suspension for Seymour, Groves said, “You get suspended for anything right now, but I don’t know. I’m going to let commissioner Goodell and the powers that be decide that. If he’s there he’s there, if he’s not we have to still get ready to go out and play Miami.”
— With coach Tom Cable reaffirming Campbell’s hold on the starting job following the game, Bruce Gradkowski will be ready if called upon against Miami.
“It doesn’t change my approach,’’ Gradkowski said. “It’s like an up and down roller coaster but you just have to keep grinding, keep going. Like I said, I felt great in the game yesterday. That’s what made me excited is that physically I feel good, I feel ready to go. That’s my number one thought. As long as I feel good I can’t worry about the rest. I’ll just keep working hard and be ready.
Gradkowski entered the game with the Raiders trailing 21-3 with 4:42 left in the third quarter and promptly drove them from their own 20 to the Pittsburgh 24 before being intercepted by Troy Polamalu, who returned it 48 yards.
Gradkowski took responsibility for the mistake, which came on a pass intended for Jacoby Ford.
“I saw a guy coming free and I kind of tried to just get the ball out of my hand and I never saw Polamalu,’’ Gradkowski said.
“I kind of thought it was just going to go into the ground right there. That sucker comes out of nowhere and takes it. He made a good play and I can’t do that. That was a key drive right there.
“ If we put a touchdown in the end zone, you know hey, who knows what would have happened. You just kind of have to learn from it.’’
— Running back Darren McFadden said the Raiders simply didn’t respond to the Steelers’ physical defense.
“They came out swinging and it seemed like we kind of balled up when they were swinging and we didn’t respond to the punch they through at us,’’ McFadden said.
— Mitchell wants the Raiders to keep the feeling of the loss inside as a reminder of how bad it feel as they prepare to face the Dolphins.
“We were so high and really believing we were going to win the game, and to get smacked like that, that hurts,’’ Mitchell said. “That’s very humbling. Hopefully everyone’s just motivated as I am and I’m sure they are. That’s the only thing you can do is go back to work and get ready to play Sunday.’’
More to come after Raiders coach Tom Cable meets with the media at 2 p.m. . . .