Colin Kazim-Richards' goal earned Wayne Rooney's Derby a second successive win with a 1-0 Championship victory at QPR.
Kazim-Richards tapped home following a counter-attack 11 minutes into the second half as Rooney made it two wins from three games since being appointed as County's permanent boss.
The goal was part of an eventful afternoon for veteran striker Kazim-Richards, who missed an early sitter and after scoring was then fortunate not to concede a penalty for what seemed a clear handball.
He should have put Derby ahead in the first half but was guilty of an awful miss from in front of goal.
Nathan Byrne drifted away from Niko Hamalainen on the right and drew Rangers captain Geoff Cameron towards him before teeing up Kazim-Richards. The 34-year-old had only goalkeeper Seny Dieng to beat but inexplicably failed to make proper contact with the ball.
Rangers' two best chances of the first period both fell to Charlie Austin, making his first appearance at Loftus Road since returning for a second spell at the club.
Austin headed Todd Kane's right-wing cross wide of the target and was later denied by Derby keeper Kelle Roos.
After the Rams failed to clear Hamalainen's cross from the left, Kane pulled the ball back for Austin, whose shot was saved at point-blank range.
It proved to be a crucial save, with QPR failing to score when they were on top and then punished by a swift Derby break early in the second half.
Graeme Shinnie charged forward and laid the ball off to Kamil Jozwiak, whose shot was parried by Dieng straight to Kazim-Richards, who made no mistake this time.
QPR hoped signing Austin on loan from West Brom would end their tendency to drop points despite having plenty of possession.
He was a constant threat before being substituted late on, but it was a familiar story for the home side, who had won both of their previous two games following Austin's arrival, having failed to win in 10 before then.
They searched in vain for an equaliser and Lee Buchanan's clearing header prevented Hamalainen's cross reaching the waiting Austin.
The resulting corner by Ilias Chair struck the raised arm of Kazim-Richards and Rangers' players were incensed that a penalty was not awarded.
Roos then kept out Yoann Barbet's overhead kick to ensure Derby left west London with the points.
What the managers said...
QPR's Mark Warburton: "I don't think we did enough to win the game, but I don't think we deserved to lose it. That was the most blatant handball you're going to see. The players' reaction tells you that's an obvious handball. I'm not sure how that's been missed. When you're having a bad day and not at your best - and we were below our best for much of the game - you need those calls to go right.
"But we didn't do enough in the first half especially. We gave the ball away cheaply and were not on the front foot. When you're having a bad day, you need to do the basics well. We didn't do that. We lost silly duels and gave the ball away loosely. We gave away a sloppy goal and gave them something to hang onto. Then, for all our possession and all the balls into the box, we lacked that bit of quality to get something out of what was a poor game of football."
Derby's Wayne Rooney: "We started very well and then let the game slip and lost a bit of control. We made a tactical change and it was about determination not to concede as we knew we'd have chances on the break. Fortunately we scored with one of those chances. George Evans coming off was not because of his performance but to get another midfielder in there to get control of the game.
"I've always been someone who can read the game. And it's not just me - it's the coaches and we're talking constantly about whether we need to make a change or not. There will be games when I have to hold my hands up and admit I got it wrong. I can't think I'm some genius and come up with crazy tactics. We'll keep giving the players the messages we need to and keep it simple for them."