Robbie Savage put the brakes on QPR's promotion charge as Derby frustrated the leaders to claim a goalless draw.
The veteran Welsh midfielder, who is retiring at the end of the season, succeeded where many have failed this term with a man-marking job on Rangers captain and top scorer Adel Taarabt.
Savage followed the Moroccan's every move, chipping at his heels and chirping in his ear and with their star turn kept quiet, Rangers could not find a way through.
They are already selling 'We are Premier League' t-shirts in the stalls outside the ground, and while that may be slightly premature, they should prove a sound investment with Neil Warnock's side now nine points clear of Norwich in third.
There is still the small matter of an FA charge hanging over the club regarding the transfer of Alejandro Faurlin, but a points deduction remains an unlikely outcome.
Certainly no-one seemed too concerned at a sold-out Loftus Road, although they will have to wait a little longer for their promotion party.
Savage may be winding down his career but he has not lost his knack of winding up players and fans alike.
He boasted after last season's meeting between the sides that he had kept Taarabt in his pocket.
And it was not long before Savage had reintroduced himself to the 16-goal midfielder, lunging into a reckless challenge before kicking the ball against his grounded opponent to earn a booking after only 12 minutes.
Taarabt was eventually put out of his misery when Warnock hauled him off with 20 minutes to go, and he took his frustration out on a water bottle.
But Rangers still had plenty of chances to take all three points.
They almost took the lead after just five minutes when Clint Hill flicked on Taarabt's corner and Heidar Helguson stabbed the ball inches wide at the far post.
Wayne Routledge should have put the hosts ahead five minutes later when Faurlin's chip left him with just Rams keeper Brad Jones to beat but he poked his shot wide.
Tommy Smith also headed a good chance too high and Jones tipped Taarabt's audacious curler over the top.
Derby are still not mathematically safe from relegation, although last weekend's win over Leeds has given them plenty of breathing space.
Theo Robinson and James Bailey went close for them in the first half, and they could have snatched a shock victory after the break but for Paddy Kenny.
Much has been made of Taarabt's contribution this term but Kenny's has been just as vital.
And the keeper ensured he kept his 24th clean sheet of the campaign, a club record, and secured a point for the hosts with a stunning one-handed save to deny Stephen Pearson from 12 yards.