The Texans recorded their best rushing game of the season, amassing 178 yards on the ground in their 24-17 win in Oakland.
Rosenfels steps up: Quarterback Sage Rosenfels got his first start of the season, filling in for a concussed Matt Schaub. Rosenfels had a lot riding on his shoulders with the Texans coming into Oakland on a three-game skid.
"It is a lot more pressure," Rosenfels said. "I knew the first play of the game on Friday, and to think about that for two days is different.
"It was driving me nuts in the hotel yesterday and then this morning. It definitely is a different train of thought being a starter."
The seven-year veteran got into the right frame of mind right away. On the first play, he scrambled for a 14-yard gain, the longest rush of his career.
"I got the edge, and they came down with the fake and got us off to a good start," Rosenfels said. "That first down of the game is always key."
The most important play of the game, however, was the quarterback's 42-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver André Davis in the fourth quarter to put the Texans ahead 24-10.
"It was huge," Ronsenfels said. "We ran a couple of plays, and their defense was rolling into a coverage where it sure left "X" all by himself. The corner and the technique, we thought we could take advantage of. And we called a big play with André (Davis), and sure enough they played that same coverage they had played a few drives earlier."
Rosenfels entered the game with the third-best quarterback rating in the fourth quarter with 125.1. This season, he has thrown all seven of his touchdown passes in the fourth period. Against the Raiders, the quarterback went 11-for-19 for 181 yards and one interception along with the touchdown.
"He prepared extremely hard," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He went against a group that rushes the passer extremely well. I don't think he had any sacks.
"It was important that he come in here and beat the team. That's what was important, and I thought he did a good job."
Dayne breaks out: Running back Ron Dayne ran for a season-high 122 yards and a touchdown with starter Ahman Green sidelined most of the game with a sore knee.
It was the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner's first 100-yard game of the season and the fourth of his career, one of which he recorded last year against Oakland.
"That's Ronnie," Kubiak said. "Just when you think maybe not, Ronnie steps up and says, 'Get on my back. I can still do this.' He's done it twice here for us. He did it last year, he did it today."
Dayne, who is known for being a short-yardage pounder, had been averaging a little more than two yards per carry this season. However, the eight-year veteran proved he can still threaten teams with his powerful-back style, breaking away for a season-long 39-yard rush in the third quarter.
"We know his ability, and when he hits it, he hits it," Rosenfels said. "He's a load to take down. There were a couple of arm tackles that he just ran threw."
Dayne's performance helped Houston record 178 rushing yards, the most the team has amassed in a game this season.
"Anytime you can get 100, it feels pretty good," Dayne said. "I'm just happy and glad that we got the win."
Picked off: The Texans relentlessly picked on Raiders quarterback Josh McCown, sacking him once and intercepting him three times.
"That's our telltale sign," linebacker Danny Clark said. "If we win the turnover battle, that's when we win the game. Ultimately, that's what we've got to do. We've got to get more turnovers than they did, and that was the outcome."
The Texans had been suffering from a turnover epidemic on offense and not creating turnovers on defense. Against Oakland, the defense stopped stressing the blitz and, instead, focused on playing tighter coverage. That tight coverage paid huge dividends in the turnover battle.
"I thought they did a heck of a job," Kubiak said. "You know, in the first half, we got turnovers that led to plays."
In the first quarter, Clark notched his second career interception on a McCown pass intended for wideout Jerry Porter. Clark, who led Oakland in tackles for two seasons earlier in his career, played with something to prove.
"Man, the chip is there, but at the end of the day we wanted to win," Clark said.
"Those 60 minutes, they're my enemies. I went and played a tough and physical game."
Rookie cornerback Fred Bennett, who started for DeMarcus Faggins, battled back from a helmet-to-helmet hit to register an interception in the second period.
"My teammates were excited," Bennett said. "My DB coach walked over to me and he was kind of excited, but he told me, 'Keep playing. Go make another one.'"
In the fourth quarter, linebacker DeMeco Ryans picked up his second career interception and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye registered his fifth sack of the season to establish a Texans' rookie record.
D-Rob out: Cornerback Dunta Robinson likely will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury he suffered tackling wide receiver Ronald Curry.
"I was trying to rip the ball out," Robinson said. "My back was turned to everybody and he was trying to go down. My leg was stuck in the ground, and somebody just came and jumped on my back. Someone probably was trying to move the pile and jumped on my back and my leg was just stuck in the ground and I couldn't get it out in time."
Robinson was carted off the field after the play with his head buried in his hands. The starter will receive an MRI on Monday, but initial tests indicated that the injury would call for surgery.
"I think it's an injury that requires surgery," Robinson said. "Oh yeah, I definitely know that. I tried to put some pressure on it, and my leg it almost folded. So I know I definitely won't be back."
Losing Robinson will be a blow to the Texans' defensive unit. The 5-10 corner is considered to be one of the fiercest pound-for-pound hitters in the NFL, and his aggressiveness often lights a fire under his teammates.
"I want to be out there for my teammates, because I know they depend on me," Robinson said. "But it's one of those things that comes with playing football. If my season is over, I just have to get ready for next year. It's another hurdle I'll get over it."