OAKLAND -- If you wondered whether his first NFL coaching victory would get Dennis Allen feeling giddy and motor-mouthed, you got your answer Sunday afternoon.
The Raiders beat Pittsburgh at the Coliseum, it was grueling, and there were a million coaching decisions and moments to ponder.
He could've gone on a soliloquy about the wonder and significance of it all, and previous Raiders coaches -- especially the most recent one -- have absolutely done that.
But when Allen got to the podium 10 minutes afterward, he had the stern game face on and he kept the answers relatively terse.
This is the crisp Raiders program now, and this is how Allen is going to run it alongside general manager Reggie McKenzie.
"Obviously, it's part of the foundation, it's a steppingstone to getting to where we want to be," Allen said of the Raiders' scrambling 34-31 victory.
"But it's one win in a 16-game season. So our deal is we don't want to get too high or too how. We're going to get to work tomorrow and we're going to get ready for the Denver Broncos (on Sunday)."
Of course, the victory came after two bad losses to start Allen's Raiders career; it came with Darrius Heyward-Bey suffering a scary injury after getting hit in the head early in the fourth quarter Sunday.
It also came after the Raiders fell behind Pittsburgh early and kept coming back, coming back, coming back. ... Allen tried an onside kick, let embattled offensive coordinator Greg Knapp run the no-huddle offense for most of the game and generally played this game from the brink the whole way through.
When Carson Palmer drove the Raiders down for the victory and Sebastian Janikowski knocked in the game-winning field goal with the clock expiring, maybe Allen smiled for a second, one mini-flash of relief and joy.
But that was it. Which was no surprise to his players, who know the program because they're in it.
"Of course it meant something to him, it's his first victory," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said of Allen. "But that's just how Coach is. He's going to always preach 'team.' That's just his motto.
"Team, team, team, team, team, team. (When the) team does better, everybody's going to get to shine. That's just how he is.
"I know it means something -- how doesn't it? It's your first victory as a head coach. He's going to wait until he gets out of here and then he's going to let his hair down a little bit."
So the Raiders are 1-2 now, with new signs of life and the Denver game coming up for a chance to get back to .500.
This is not a great team, but it is not a horrible one, either, and it finally showed that Sunday.
For the first time, the Raiders offense and controversial zone blocking system kicked into gear, from Darren McFadden's first-quarter 64-yard touchdown run to Palmer's second-half precision.
And, while the defense gave up bundles of yards to Ben Roethlisberger, the Raiders had their first two takeaways of the season -- both on recovered fumbles, both hugely important. Also, the Raiders committed only three penalties (for 25 yards), while the Steelers were the ones shooting themselves repeatedly (10 penalties for 81 yards).
A thing of beauty? Well, something like that.
"Listen, at the end of the day, the fact that we were able to win a football game, that's huge for the confidence of this football team," Allen said.
Allen wasn't going to do verbal high-fives with an entire room of reporters, but you could tell he was pleased.
OK, relatively happy. Not unhappy, anyway. This is the new way things are going to go for the Raiders -- through ups and downs -- and everybody is getting used to it.
Which is easier to do for those involved when there's a victory involved, of course.
"The first win for a first-time head coach is huge, and I'm proud of Coach," Palmer said. "I think he's going to be a great head coach -- I think he is a great coach. ... He's not going to take any credit for anything. That's just his style. I noticed that Day 1. There is no ego. This is about 'team.' "
And Allen's message -- crystal clear by now -- is also easier to follow and absorb when there's not an 0 in front of his win-loss record.
I'm sure he will celebrate that in his own way, far from prying eyes, after his 100th hour of Broncos videotape.