The Raiders didn't lose quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, as it appeared they might in the third quarter, but they lost another game, their defensive ranking and very probably running back Darren McFadden for an undetermined period of time.
With that as a backdrop following a 31-24 loss to the Houston Texans, the Raiders take a 1-3 record into their first AFC West game -- a home date against the San Diego Chargers.
San Diego has beaten Oakland in their last 13 meetings, and can tie New England's dominance of Buffalo for the longest ongoing streak in the NFL.
A week after letting a win slip away in Arizona because of three missed Sebastian Janikowski field goals, including a 32-yarder at the gun, the Raiders showed some fortitude in keeping it close but lost in the most elementary way possible.
"I thought the game was lost on the line of scrimmage, period," Raiders coach Tom Cable said. "I thought they came in here and did exactly what they tried to do all year and that's established their run game and they did a good job of it. We never seemed to get a handle on it and slow it down.
"Offensively, what hurt was our inability to have some consistent pass protection."
The Texans ran at will, rushing for 249 yards on 36 carries, averaging 6.8 per attempt. The Raiders fought back to tie the score 14-14 at halftime, only to see Arian Foster rip off a 74-yard touchdown run on the second snap of the second half.
Foster, who missed the first quarter for disciplinary reasons, rushed for 131 yards on 16 carries, Derrick Ward had 80 yards on 12 attempts and Steve Slaton 37 yards on five tries.
"We didn't stop them," defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. "I'm not a big stats guy. But the stats tell the story."
Offensively, Gradkowski put the Raiders in the end zone three times, with Michael Bush scoring on a 2-yard run to go along with touchdown passes of 13 yards to Marcel Reece and 14 yards to Zach Miller.
But he was also sacked four times and pressured the entire game. He lost a sack fumble late in the first half when the Raiders were poised to get in position for a late field goal and a halftime lead.
Cable told the Raiders of their issues going forward in the locker room after the game.
"I didn't sugar-coat it," Cable said. "When you get your rear end kicked in like that it is what it is. You don't talk around it, you have to deal with it."
"I love the way our guys have been playing two weeks in a row in terms of playing hard and playing tough, but we have those quarters where we stutter a little bit," Gradkowski said. "You can't do that or they'll take advantage of it."
BY THE NUMBERS
QB Bruce Gradkowski had a 131.4 passer rating when throwing to tight end Zach Miller against Houston -- 11 completions in 13 attempts for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Raiders right tackle Langston Walker had a rough outing against the Texans, and was overpowered by Mario Williams on a sack of Gradkowski. Khalif Barnes, used as an extra blocker in power formations, could get the call soon for his first start.
-- RB Darren McFadden broke loose on a 23-yard run in the third quarter but immediately grabbed at his right hamstring and did not return to the game.
-- DT John Henderson, considered a run-stuffing defensive tackle, missed his second straight game with a foot injury and the Raiders gave up 6.8 yards per carry.
-- FB Marcel Reece scored his first NFL touchdown with a 13-yard reception from QB Bruce Gradkowski.
-- WR Jacoby Ford opened the game with a 64-yard kickoff return, the longest Raiders return of the season.
-- LB Thomas Howard left the game with a knee strain and did not return.
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