OAKLAND -- Lane Kiffin, meet Art Shell and Norv Turner.
Kiffin's immediate predecessors as head coach tried to limit the Oakland Raiders' penalties, turnovers and dumbfounding mistakes that have defined the team since the 2003 season, when former coach Bill Callahan labeled the Raiders "the dumbest team in America." The wunderkind coach is finding out in his first season just what he's up against.
The Raiders lost 24-17 to the Houston Texans at McAfee Coliseum on Sunday, Oakland's fourth consecutive loss. Houston had lost three in a row.
Three Josh McCown interceptions gave the Texans some swagger on defense and the missed-tackle-laden run defense made another running back look like a Pro Bowl player.
Houston's Ron Dayne ran for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Dayne had 226 yards all season before seeing the Raiders across from him and running as if he were back at Wisconsin on his way to the Heisman Trophy in 1999.
The Raiders are 2-6 after eight games, as they've been four of the past five seasons -- not what Kiffin had in mind for the first half of his rookie season.
"I thought we'd be further along," Kiffin said. "I thought we'd have more wins. I thought we'd play better, more consistent. I didn't think we'd have as many ups and downs as we do."
McCown, back in the starting lineup after missing four games with a fractured left big toe, didn't lose his knack for throwing interceptions while out. He threw five interceptions in his first two starts before being injured in the first half of his third game.
McCown was sacked only once, but completed only 13 of 28 passes with a late touchdown and the Raiders failed to exploit an injury to the Texans' best cornerback, Dunta Robinson, in the first quarter.
Kiffin bemoaned another slow start by the Raiders and, of course, penalties. Five of the Raiders' six infractions were on the offense, including three false starts and two holding calls.
"Whether it's turnovers on my part or penalties, they come at bad times," McCown said. "When that continues to happen it just kills your momentum and consistency."
The defense continued its habit of not stopping teams on third down and being an open door for running backs looking for a 100-yard game. Dayne is the sixth back to pull off that feat.
The Raiders fell behind 17-0 at halftime on touchdown runs by Ahman Green and Dayne and a Kris Brown field goal with five seconds left in the half.
The field goal was set up when Kiffin, trying to jump-start his slow-starting team, had Sebastian Janikowski attempt a 64-yard field goal that hit the upright.
"I felt it would have been a spark for us going into the locker room at halftime and it hit the post," Kiffin said.
Rookie Jay Richardson tried to spark the team when he blocked a 43-yard field attempt by the Texans in the third quarter.
"I was like, Man, maybe this will be the thing that gets us going," Richardson said. "Every point counts and that's three points they don't have."
But it couldn't bring the Raiders all the way back.
Justin Fargas' (23 carries for 104 yards) 1-yard touchdown run ended an eight quarter Oakland touchdown drought and made it 17-10 with 11:26 to go, but the Raiders never overtook the Texans.
Houston (4-5) countered with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Andre' Davis from backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels as cornerback Stanford Routt, playing the injured Nnamdi Asomugha's spot, fell down in coverage.
Tim Dwight caught a 28-yard touchdown pass with 1:37 left, but the Raiders didn't recover the ensuing onside kick, sealing a fate all too familiar since 2003.