Case Keenum’s play disappointed in first quarter of 2018

Oct 1, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum (4) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Case Keenum, the key, $18 million free agent of the 2018 offseason, has had a rocky start to his career as a Denver Bronco. Keenum was brought in to solidify the Broncos quarterback situation and be “the guy” under center. However, with Keenum under center, the team currently sits at a 2-2 record, coming off of two demoralizing losses to the Baltimore Ravens and the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs.

In the most important game of the season for the Broncos, the loss to the Chiefs doesn’t rest entirely on Keenum’s shoulders. It wasn’t Keenum who gave up back-to-back touchdowns despite a comfortable 10-point lead at home against the Chiefs. Keenum also didn’t elect to change the Broncos’ defensive scheme that allowed for the Chiefs’ comeback. Keenum’s only interception of the game was the result of a fantastic play by Chiefs’ defensive back Eric Murray, and doesn’t really reflect poorly upon him.

However, it was Keenum who couldn’t generate first downs in that same fourth quarter to keep the Chiefs’ offense on the sidelines. Keenum was also guilty in whiffing on a would-be touchdown pass to wide-open Demaryius Thomas that would have secured the victory for the Broncos. While the “fault” of his only interception is debatable, Keenum also finished the game without any touchdown passes.

In the Broncos’ young season, Keenum has done just enough in the Broncos’ two victories to keep the team from losing. However, Keenum has not stepped up in either of the Broncos’ losses to put the team in a chance to come away with a win.

Through the first four games of the season, Keenum’s numbers are lukewarm at best, completing 61.7% of his passes for 988 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions. Keenum’s completion percentage currently ranks a dismal 27th, coupled with six interceptions, which is tied for second-most in the NFL. Keenum’s passing touchdowns per game (0.8) ranks 30th in the NFL, while the Broncos’ offense has slumped to 25th in the NFL in points scored per game.

The Broncos have continued to remain plagued by inconsistent play at the quarterback position that haunted the team for most of their 2017 season. Keenum’s 2017 season in Minnesota seems like a long-forgotten dream compared to how he has played thus far in 2018. The season is young and Keenum still has plenty of time to adjust to the Broncos’ offense. A part of Keenum’s struggles have been mostly due to poor decision-making. Hopefully, as he settles into the offense, his decision-making will improve.

The bottom line for the Broncos’ playoff chances in 2018, is that Keenum must play better than he has. The Broncos simply cannot compete with the rest of the talented AFC West while ranking in the bottom of the NFL in major categories such as points per game and interceptions thrown. The pressure is on for Keenum to step up and be the quarterback the Broncos were hoping for when they signed him this offseason.

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