ALAMEDA -- The Raiders got into the swing of things against the Pittsburgh Steelers with the help of a crossover prop produced by coach Dennis Allen.

In the days leading up to a 34-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Allen distributed new, shiny wood baseball bats to every member of the team. Each was inscribed with "Raiders vs. Steelers, Sept. 23, 2012" and the quote "Bring the Wood."

Corny? Perhaps.

But it provided some emphasis to Allen's point about playing for 60 minutes and to keep swinging regardless of what was transpiring on the field. As it turned out, the Raiders needed every second, with Sebastian Janikowski's 43-yard field goal serving as a game-winning three-run home run as time expired.

Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen during the fourth quarter of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on
Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen during the fourth quarter of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff)

"That was the theme, man," linebacker Philip Wheeler said. "Coach D.A. was telling us, it's going to be one of those fights where we have to swing our bats for 60 minutes, and that's what we did. We had to bring the wood, they gave us wooden bats. We brought the wood and swung it for 60 minutes."

The bats were still in most lockers Monday, souvenirs of a win that improved the Raiders to 1-2 and considerably brightened the mood as preparations begin for the Broncos on Sunday in Denver.

Allen, not surprisingly, never mentioned his motivational ploy while meeting with the media Monday. He doesn't shrink from the podium but doesn't play the masses, either.

It wouldn't be hard to imagine former coach Hue Jackson, under the same circumstances, strolling to the podium, bat in hand, and relishing every moment.

Allen's review was more understated.

"We've got it in us to be a mentally tough team and compete and fight and keep going until the very end," Allen said. "That's what you have to do to win consistently in this league, and that's what our guys did yesterday."

There was more emotion when the bats were distributed, according to Wheeler.

"We were very excited," Wheeler said. "It was good motivation."

Wheeler wasn't surprised that Allen didn't feel the need to let anybody outside the locker room in on it.

"That's probably a good thing," Wheeler said. "You don't want to get all in public and have people look bad at him."

Quarterback Carson Palmer said after the game that Allen adheres to the same "team first" philosophy he expects from his players.

"He never takes credit for anything," Palmer said. "That's not his style."

  • Like Darrius Heyward-Bey, tight end Brandon Myers also was dealing with a concussion -- also from a helmet-to-helmet hit. It came on a clutch catch from Palmer on third-and-10 from Oakland's 25 on their game-winning drive.



    "Brandon's been in here and feels fine, no headaches," Allen said. "He has to go through the protocol of passing the tests, but it didn't seem too severe."

    Myers has been the target of 15 passes and has 15 receptions. No other receiver in the NFL has more than nine receptions without an incompletion in his direction.

  • The Raiders have 14 penalties for 102 yards through three games. Last season they had 15 for 131 yards in the opener alone. After setting NFL records with 163 penalties for 1,358 yards, the Raiders are on pace for 75 penalties for 544 yards.