The 2013 season has been a huge disappointment for the Texans. Memories of their 12-4 regular season record and trip to the postseason have long since evaporated. In their place Houston’s fans have witnessed a defense repeatedly let down by a misfiring offense.
The sight of opposing defensive backs returning interceptions for touchdowns became commonplace; Matt Schaub threw one in four consecutive games and when he went down injured his replacement T.J. Yates stepped up to add another.
At 2-4 (and with star linebacker Brian Cushing ruled out for the season), fans of the Texans were already turning their thoughts to a replacement for Schaub in the 2014 draft. Enter Case Keenum, an undrafted 2nd year quarterback from Houston who spent the entire 2012 season on the practice squad.
Debuting at Arrowhead Stadium against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs Keenum turned the playbook on its head and took the Texans to within one point of victory. He completed an impressive 15 of 25 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown on his professional debut, for a passer rating of 110.6. For Texans fans, this performance was like a breath of fresh air.
Fast forward one week and Keenum again impressed in a close defeat. Although Andrew Luck engineered a fourth quarter comeback and a 27-24 victory, the manner of the Texans first half showing provided plenty of reasons for optimism. Keenum linked up Andre Johnson for three touchdowns and ended with 350 yards passing and a passer rating of 123.4.
The losing trend continued in Arizona on Sunday, but once again Keenum kept his team competitive. He threw for 201 yards and another three touchdowns as the Texans lost by three again in another close game.
Their remaining schedule has some very winnable games that could help boost both his statistics and, more importantly, win total before the end of the season. Two games against Jacksonville and matches with Oakland and Tennessee give four realistic chances of victory for Keenum and the Texans.
Keenum is a perfect fit for Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme and has shown that he has the temperament and arm strength to succeed as a starter in the NFL. He has united the team behind him and, with a bit more luck (or a bit less in the game against Indianapolis!), could easily have picked up one or two wins.
Houston have seemingly stumbled upon a man who could lead them for seasons to come. The drafting of a new signal caller is now not as important for Houston and they can now use the draft to focus on improving in other areas. Get ready for the Keenum era to start!