Kiffin apparently saw enough from McCown in the second half to think better of switching back to Daunte Culpepper. He remains convinced Russell is not ready, and also said Andrew Walter, the No. 4 quarterback on the roster, is presently not in the picture.
McCown, who hadn't played since Week 3 against Cleveland, was a dismal four-for-10 passing for 35 yards with two interceptions as the Raiders trailed 17-0.
In the second half, the Raiders outscored Houston 17-7, with McCown completing nine of 18 passes for 123 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
A 28-yard touchdown pass to Tim Dwight with 1:30 to play put Oakland within an onsides kick of having a chance to tie the game, but the Texans recovered it.
"Looking the whole thing over, it was something to build on," Kiffin said. "In the second half, on offense, we played for the most part the way we'd like to play the whole game."
McCown was booed heavily by the home crowd. When fans weren't booing, they were chanting "Russ-ell, Russ-ell," apparently having moved from their infatuation with Culpepper when the Raiders scored two touchdowns in his last three games as a starter.
"We're just not pulling our own weight," McCown said. "Everybody has a mistake at the wrong time. Whether it is turnovers on my part, or penalties, they come at bad times, they kill your momentum and affect your consistency and your tempo. I look at myself first -- those are things I have to correct."
McCown maintained the booing does not bother him. He said nobody is harder on him than himself. Wide receiver Jerry Porter thinks it is excessive, noting Raider fans have a long history of being unhappy with their quarterbacks.
"We work our (butts) off every week, Monday to Saturday, and when (we) lose, it sucks. Think that's what we want?" Porter said. "But for it to be like this? It feels like a damn road game. ... They even booed Rich Gannon here."