Keenum impresses in another Texans loss

Keenum impresses in another Texans loss
November 4, 2013, 9:00 am
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(USA Today Images)

Andre Johnson wasn’t open. But Case Keenum threw it anyway.

Keenum launched a play-action pass deep to Johnson before Johnson had any separation from Colts’ defensive back Antoine Bethea. But by the time the ball got to Johnson he was in front.

And by the time Johnson reached the goal line, Keenum was pumping his fists in triumph.

Keenum, making his first-career home start, came out of the gate firing on Sunday against the Colts. He threw a touchdown pass on the third offensive snap of the game and added two more by the end of the half to give the Texans an 18-point advantage, one they ultimately squandered in a 27-24 loss.

“Yeah, I mean, that’s the energy we’ve been looking for all year,” DeVier Posey said. “That’s the energy we need to play with. It’s good that it’s there, it’s good that it’s in us. We just have to finish. We just have to finish it.”

Keenum threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns (all to Johnson) in the first half. He ended the game with a career-high 350 in the air but the Texans mustered just three points in the second half.

Head coach Gary Kubiak – who collapsed on Sunday and was taken to the hospital – started Keenum for the second game in a row, this time picking him over a healthy Matt Schaub. With his second solid performance, Keenum will very, very likely remain the starter.

“The guy is special,” Posey said. “He makes plays with his feet. He is smart, savvy, sharp.  He’s a great leader. He is fiery. You can win with a guy like that. He’s learning. He is learning how hard it is to win in this league and how close the margin of error is. We’re just trying to make sure we can come in and evaluate and make sure we make those plays that we lost on those inches and feet.”

“He’s in that huddle, he’s screaming,” Garrett Graham said. “He’s getting pumped up, he’s walking around the sideline getting everybody together, so he does a good job of that.”

Keenum clearly provided a spark against Kansas City two weeks ago and did it again against the Colts on Sunday. He had a passer rating of 123.4 on Sunday and his 62-yard touchdown pass was the longest pass from a Texan since Matt Schaub hit Jacoby Jones on Nov. 13, 2011.

“I wish I could say I was impressed, but I’m not because I’ve seen him do it,” running back Ben Tate said. “I’ve seen him do it in practice. I’ve seen him do it in camp. So that’s just Case to me. I think if you weren’t around then, you’re impressed by him, but I always have said he’s a baller and he’s a natural leader.”

Sunday was the first home start for Keenum, who rose to fame in Houston for his record-setting play at the University of Houston. He had many family and friends in the stands on Sunday night and the rest of the crowd cheered him loudly, at times chanting “Kee-num! Kee-num!”

“I remember standing in the tunnel there, about to get announced, and thinking this is pretty cool,” Keenum said. “It is hard to believe that I am there. That was very special to me, and very special to play in Houston again in front of our crowd. They were great tonight. We had an incredible crowd. It was disappointing for us to not get a win. We don’t play this game for consolation prizes. Everybody in that locker room is in there to win the game, and it’s very frustrating that we didn’t.”

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