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Keenum Takes The Blame

Case Keenum willingly shoulders the blame, but this sick Texans joke shouldn't squash his chance

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Texans Jaguars Keenum back
Case Keenum might not find himself at the center of the Texans picture anymore. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Jaguars Texans no catch
The Jaguars defense dominated the game between the NFL's bad teams. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Texans Jaguars helmets
The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars brought fight to a matchup no one wanted to see/ Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Whitney Mercilus Texans pressure
Whitney Mercilus put pressure on Chad Henne. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Ben Tate Texans run
Ben Tate couldn't get much going on the ground. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Keshawn Martin juggle Texans
KeShawn let the most important pass of all bounce off his hands. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Keenum Dennis Johnson Texans
Dennis Johnson did have a good game. And he might be the only Texan on offense who can say that. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Texans Jaguars Keenum back
Jaguars Texans no catch
Texans Jaguars helmets
Whitney Mercilus Texans pressure
Ben Tate Texans run
Keshawn Martin juggle Texans
Keenum Dennis Johnson Texans
News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

Almost all the best quarterbacks in NFL have had days like this. Of course, all the worst quarterbacks in the NFL have them too. And eventually, they just keep coming and coming and coming.

Case Keenum wants the blame for the Houston Texans' latest horrific loss — a 13-6 snore bore of a sucker punch setback to the Jacksonville Jaguars (the freaking Jacksonville Jaguars!) that drops Gary Kubiak's team into a tie for the worst record in all of pro football. Right where it belongs. Oh, this record is no fluke. These Texans have earned every bit of the misery.

And Keenum's not going to be alone in pining a good chunk of the blame for this one . . . on Keenum.

"I’m frustrated right now," Keenum says, standing on the stage at the Texans interview room. "I am very disappointed in myself . . . not only for me, but for letting everyone down in that locker room. You can turn on the film and I’m going to go watch it, but we had guys open. We had the right play calls. And I didn’t hit them. I didn’t see them. I didn’t make the plays.

 Tom Brady posted an 86-yard clunker in a 30-10 loss, plus 107 and 108 passing yard efforts in his first season starting. 

"I think this one is very disappointing, because I was a big part of that loss."

Shouldering the burden as the quarterback is one admirable trait that Keenum shares with Matt Schaub. No matter what you think of Schaub, no one was more of a stand-up guy in postgame press conferences than Schaub. Which made his screaming fit at Andre Johnson at the end of last week's excruciating loss so surprising.

You only have to look at Keenum to realize he wants to scream at himself.

And he wouldn't be totally off base. Keenum hasn't played as bad of a football game as Sunday probably since Sept. 18, 2010 when he threw two interceptions in the first half against UCLA and tore up his knee trying to make a tackle on the second one. (No, the Southern Miss loss his second chance senior year isn't in the conversation). Keenum knows you can't lead a team with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins to to six points against the Jaguars.

"I was a little hesitant on certain plays," Keenum says after finishing 18 of 34 for 169 yards and leading the Texans to only 11 first down. "For whatever reason, I was out of my rhythm. I just had bad fundamentals and I wasn’t trusting what I was seeing and just letting the ball go."

For some reason, the unbridled joy that marked Keenum's first four NFL starts seems to be gone against the Jaguars.

To his credit, Keenum refuses to link any of this to Kubiak yanking him last week (that argument's a stretch). And in a better sign, none of Keenum's teammates throw the young quarterback under the bus either.

 "It falls on everyone," running back Ben Tate says. "We all struggled today. It is not just one person. Offense is a unit. It's not a defensive thing where one person can save the play."

In other words, there's no J.J. Watt on the Texans offense (at this point he probably deserves that shot at a tight end cameo though). Not with Arian Foster out for the season.

Which doesn't mean the Texans necessarily don't have a quarterback worthy of betting the future on.

Peyton Manning put up 137 yard, 140 yard and 159 yard games his rookie season. Tom Brady posted an 86-yard clunker in a 30-10 loss, plus 107 and 108 passing yard efforts in his first season starting for Bill Belichick.

Young quarterbacks go up and down more than one of those Test Your Strength heavy hammer games at a cheap carnival. Even the ones who turn out to be elite. Kubiak's only crazy move this week is refusing to say he'll start Keenum next Sunday against Brady and the Patriots too. The Texans need to be absolutely sure on Keenum — one way or the other — before this season ends. And there's no way, they do that without playing him right through the merciful Dec. 29 season ender. 

Tom Brady Level Misery?

Keenum struggles throughout the first half. At one point, the Texans go three-and-out on four straight possessions. The Texans get outgained 121-4 in the first quarter. The former University of Houston star has 32 yards passing after 30 minutes of game time.

The referee even gets in on the blundering when he announces, "Timeout Tennessee." Only Matt Schaub's been booed louder this season.

Hey, when it's a battle between a 2-8 and a 1-9 team, the officials cannot be expected to know who is playing. They get the team names right on Sunday Night Football. How much can you expect?

 The referee even gets in on the blundering when he announces, "Timeout Tennessee." Only Matt Schaub's been booed louder this season.  

There are things going wrong . . . and then there's this.

"We suck," Johnson says. "As an offense."

Keenum's first play of the second half goes for 37 yards though, a strong-armed, precise throw to tight end Ryan Griffin on a seam route. When you give a young quarterback a little more time, he can find his way. Only for Keenum, it's a short lived reprieve. Soon, the two-deep zone the Jaguars are playing — essentially daring Keenum to just become a dink passer and attempting to rob him of his swashbuckling, go-for-it game — reins him in. 

Keenum's final pass of the day (a good pass) is bobbled by Keshawn Martin — straight up into the air, in perfect position for Jacksonville defensive end Ryan Davis to pick off. This interception isn't Keenum's fault, but one can argue the game is.

It's opened the door for Kubiak to make a QB change (and absolutely remove any doubt about whether he should be fired). It's strengthened the chorus of those demanding a quarterback in the first round (and the Texans could very well be drafting first overall). Keenum knows this. He's always been attuned to what's going on around him.

No one needs to explain the backdrop to this 25-year-old.

"All good quarterbacks — and I’ve always said this — have amnesia," he says.

Now, Keenum has to make sure everyone forgets his Sunday. Against Brady.

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