Under Keenum, Texans close but winless

Under Keenum, Texans close but winless
November 27, 2013, 5:15 pm
Share This Post
(USA Today Images)

The Texans have been close in all five games Case Keenum has started this year.

And they’ve won exactly zero of them.

“Very surprised,” Keenum said about not having a win. “We go in each week expecting to win. That’s definitely one of the words you can use to describe not winning.”

Keenum, the University of Houston product, got his first start against the Chiefs on Oct. 20 and has started every game since. The Texans are 0-5 since Keenum became the starter, losing all five games by one score.

Is it even harder being close and not pulling it off?

“It’s always frustrating when you lose,” Andre Johnson said. “You always wonder what could you have done better to change the outcome so anytime you lose it’s frustrating.”

“Anytime you lose you’re not that encouraged,” offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. “We’re very frustrated. We need to find a win; we need to play better so that we can win. And everybody in the building is frustrated.”

During Keenum’s stretch as a starter, the Texans have lost the five games by 19 combined points, 3.8 points per game. To put that into perspective, the Texans lost four games all of last season but lost them by an average of 18.75 points per game. Their closest game was a 12-point loss.

The Texans have been close with Keenum at the helm in 2013. But the closest they’ve come to winning a Keenum start was with Matt Schaub.

Schaub took over late in the second half against the Raiders and got the Texans down to the 2-yard line before getting backed up to the 8 and throwing an incomplete pass to Andre Johnson in the end zone on fourth down.

But missing opportunities on late drives isn’t specific to the Raiders game or to Schaub. In fact, in the four games Keenum has started and finished he’s had the ball for a late-game drive to either take the lead or tie the game and the team hasn’t come through.  

Against Kansas City, the Texans got the ball at their own 10-yard line with 1:46 but Keenum fumbled it away on the second play. Against the Colts, Keenum got the ball on the 33 with under a minute remaining and got the Texans into field-goal range before Randy Bullock missed a 55-yarder. Against the Cardinals, they got the ball back with 2:06 remaining at the 17. But they got just one first down.

And last week against the Jaguars, the Texans got the ball at the 20 with 1:50 left with a chance to tie but Keenum’s pass intended for Keshawn Martin was bobbled and intercepted.

Despite the late-drives coming up short, the Texans claim they still have confidence when they get into those situations.

“I wouldn’t say it hurts our confidence,” offensive lineman Brandon Brooks. “We just know that every time we’re down there we are trying to score and we go back to the drawing board and see what we do better and what we did wrong on that possession and basically how we correct it. It’s never discouraging because you never know when you’re going to have another opportunity. Confidence is key and goes a long way. We don’t get discouraged at all.”

“We hope we do,” Dennison said about having confidence late in games. “We’re just not getting it done. Confidence or not, we have to execute. That’s the thing that we’re missing; we’re just not executing in those situations at the end and there’s a lot of critical situations throughout the games where we’re not getting it done. But we’ll keep working at it.”

The Texans have found several different ways to lose over the last month-plus but there’s been one constant: they’ve been close without getting a win. And because of it, a team that would have had a chance to sneak into the playoffs in a weak AFC, is setting itself up for one of the first picks in the draft.

If the season ended now, the second wild card spot would go to a team with a 5-6 record. The Texans are 2-9.

“Yeah, that’s extremely frustrating, especially when you go back and look at some of the games we’ve lost and some of the situations we’ve been in,” head coach Gary Kubiak said after Sunday’s loss to the lowly Jaguars. “I don’t know if I’m right but I think for five weeks in a row, we’ve lost the game by less than a touchdown. If you flip half of those, then you’re sitting here correcting mistakes and playing for opportunities to play in the playoffs. That makes it very difficult, but it is what it is.”

Texans - Team News
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Arian Foster's caddie is in no danger of missing Week 9.
Oct 30 3:41PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. Johnson was never in any danger of missing Sunday's game against the Eagles. With six teams on bye for Week 9, Johnson is a WR1.
Oct 30 3:40PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. The Texans are just managing their superstar back's reps. With DeMarco Murray facing the Cardinals' elite run defense, there's a case to be made for Foster as Week 9's No. 1...
Oct 30 3:39PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Blue got first-team reps with Arian Foster (knee) not practicing. The Texans also held out Andre Johnson (ankle) on Wednesday.
Oct 29 5:15PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps for rest purposes. He didn't suffer any setbacks last week and should be fine for Sunday's game against the Eagles.
Oct 29 3:43PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) did not practice Wednesday. It's a new injury for Foster. Coming off his three-touchdown performance, it's possible the Texans are getting him some rest. Foster will be a top-three running back in Week...
Oct 29 3:18PM Read More
Zac Diles - LB
Texans signed LB Zac Diles. CB Elbert Mack was waived in a corresponding roster move. Diles' addition is a sign the Texans aren't expecting Brian Cushing (knee) back for Week 9.
Oct 28 4:04PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham was held without a catch in the Texans' Week 8 win over Tennessee. Graham was targeted just one time on the day, a seam shot from Ryan Fitzpatrick that predictably fell incomplete. Graham has been a very minor part of the offense, making...
Oct 26 4:53PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 55 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Johnson saw a team-high dozen targets. He was followed by Titans top CB Jason McCourty for much of the afternoon, leaving DeAndre Hopkins to work on sophomore Blidi...
Oct 26 4:44PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 95 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Hopkins was targeted 11 times compared to 12 for Andre Johnson. Hopkins picked up chunk yards on all of his grabs, and was stopped at the five-yard line on one grab where...
Oct 26 4:24PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 42 yards on 14 carries in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Blue added a 22-yard catch. With the Texans clobbering the Titans late and Arian Foster having already piled up 173 yards and three touchdowns, Blue got plenty of run late...
Oct 26 4:11PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed just 19-of-35 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown, and zero... Fitzpatrick was pretty bad for most of the day, begging to be picked off, but the Texans rode Arian Foster's legs to victory. Fitzpatrick's lone touchdown went to Foster on...
Oct 26 3:45PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-16, Week 8... Foster managed just 36 yards on his first 10 carries, but broke a 34-yard touchdown and had no trouble finding holes in the Tennessee defense from there on. Foster caught a...
Oct 26 3:21PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is active for Week 8 against the Titans. Clowney will play on a "pitch count," likely in pass-rushing and third-down situations. Good luck with Clowney and J.J. Watt, Zach Mettenberger. Inactive for the...
Oct 26 10:34AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is likely to play against the Titans, but will be on a... "I thought what he did what he had to do this week," coach Bill O’Brien said. "I think he’s got a good shot to play on Sunday." Clowney has been...
Oct 25 9:13AM Read More

More Team Talk