OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Whether it’s in a starting role or relief, Sage Rosenfels once again saved his best for the fourth quarter.
Rosenfels connected with Andre’ Davis on a 42-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter that helped the Houston Texans snap a three-game skid with a 24-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Getting his first start of the season in place of the injured Matt Schaub, Rosenfels took some time to find his groove. Once he did, he helped the Texans go into the bye week on a positive note and earned his first career win as a starter.
“It is a lot more pressure,” Rosenfels said of his third career start. “To think about that all week is different. It was driving me nuts in the hotel yesterday and this morning.”
Rosenfels had played in relief of Schaub the past three weeks, rallying Houston (4-5) from a 32-7 deficit two weeks ago against Tennessee before losing 38-36. Against the Raiders (2-6), he made the play that ended a comeback attempt after Oakland had cut a 17-point deficit to seven early in the fourth quarter.
On third-and-2, Davis sped past cornerback Stanford Routt and caught the long TD pass that gave the Texans a 24-10 lead with 7:50 to go.
“Andre’ ran a great route,” Rosenfels said. “I saw that he had 3 yards on him and threw it. I thought I overthrew him, but he ran that sucker down.”
Rosenfels came into the game with the third-best quarterback rating in the fourth quarter (125.1) and has thrown all seven of his touchdown passes in the fourth period this season. He finished 11-for-19 for 181 yards and one interception, going 3-for-3 for 47 yards in the final quarter.
Ron Dayne had 21 carries for a season-high 122 yards and a touchdown with starter Ahman Green banged up. Dayne has run for at least 95 yards only three times the past two seasons, twice against Oakland.
He finished with 95 yards in last year’s 23-14 win. He was even better Sunday, carrying 21 times in his fourth career 100-yard rushing game and scored on a 14-yard run in the second quarter.