Richard Seymour, who played for New England from 2001-08, greeted old friend Tom Brady with something considerably stronger than a handshake Sunday.
Seymour burst through the line and, oblivious to the referee's whistle trying to stop play, grabbed Brady and slung him to the turf. The awkward reunion resulted in a 15-yard flag on the Raiders defensive tackle for unnecessary roughness -- even if the "roughness" part was open to debate.
"He put me down kind of gently, like he said he would," Brady said. "I don't think it should have been a foul, but I'm glad we got the call."
Yes, the Patriots got that call. They got a lot of calls. And when even Brady, the opposing quarterback, acknowledges a break from the officials, it invites a meeting of the long-running Silver & Black conspiracy club.
But no one should blame the referees for the Raiders' 31-19 defeat at the Coliseum. And no one should say Oakland deserved a better fate.
So says Mr. Unnecessary Roughness himself.
"There's no excuses about it," Seymour said. "(The Patriots) played better than us today. Regardless of whether calls went our way or didn't, they came out and played better than we did, and we give them credit for that."
The officials later changed two calls in the Patriots' favor, including a pass-interference call near the goal line when the score was still close.
"Hey, we're not going to make any excuses," Seymour said. "We're not going
Seymour committed two of the Raiders' nine penalties, both of them personal fouls on the Patriots' opening possession. Shortly after being flagged for roughing Brady, he drew another 15-yarder for a face mask on running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
"No, I did have his face mask, for sure," Seymour said. "I had it. That's how I took him down. That's definitely (what happened.) I have to do a better job with that."
Seymour also jumped offside on the Patriots' second possession, but that penalty was declined. All those early gaffes from the 11th-year veteran suggested that Seymour was too hyped up about facing his old team.
Seymour won three Super Bowl rings and made five trips to the Pro Bowl before New England traded him to Oakland just before the 2009 season.
This was his first game against the Patriots, and vice versa.
"I hate seeing him over there. He's an awesome player," Brady said. "I thought about him a lot this week. He's physical. He's a great leader for them."
Seymour wound up with three tackles. But his biggest play of the day was the one that didn't count -- the bizarro takedown of Brady that had some Raiders fans crying foul.
On third-and-9 from the Patriots' 21, a flag flew because of a delay-of-game penalty. But not everyone saw the yellow marker. And even fewer heard the whistle. A handful of players from both sides continued to battle on, with Seymour working his way toward the quarterback.
In these situations, an official will sometimes step in and wave his arms to indicate a dead ball. That didn't happen this time. And Seymour didn't relent until after he'd manhandled Brady all the way to the ground.
"I didn't know whether he had the ball or didn't," Seymour explained. "Then I felt the ball, so you still continue to take him down when he's not down. I mean, that's the only way I know how to play.
"From what I heard, they blew (the whistle) on the back end to stop the play, but we're in the Black Hole. I couldn't hear the middle linebacker tell me the call, let alone hear a whistle."
Raiders coach Hue Jackson, echoing Seymour, said the player did what any right-thinking defender would do when he has a clear lane at an opposing quarterback.
"When the ball is snapped, our players are taught to make sure that if you think it's a live ball, you have to take him down," Jackson said. "What was said to me was that the way he took him down was flagrant, so they called the penalty. Obviously, I felt different about it. ... but we're not going to cry about those things."
Aided by Seymour's two penalties on that drive, the Patriots did what the Patriots do: They moved 80 yards in nine plays, capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker.
Seymour could have whined about the bad break. But those eight seasons in New England remained ingrained. He knows that conspiracies don't decide games. Talent does.
"We couldn't get off the field. We take responsibility for that," Seymour said. "We have to do a better job. We understand that and know that. We have to get better as a team."
Contact Daniel Brown at email@example.com.