ENGLEWOOD - Statistically, there’s no question Bronco Land was expecting better than three touchdown passes against six interceptions from Case Keenum.
The 2-2 record is about right, given the first four opponents. All four games came down to the fourth quarter. All four times Keenum had directed extended final-quarter drives. He finished those fourth-quarter drives in the first two games. His fourth-quarter rallies came up short in the losses at Baltimore and Monday night to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Give him credit for playing his best when it matters most.
He lost sleep over the throw that sailed too high for Demaryius Thomas late in the game Monday night against the Chiefs. Against a cover 2 zone defense, Keenum did a great job moving the two safeties to the middle of the field. He did another nice job spotting Thomas open. Thomas was so wide open, though, that Keenum's heart seemed to skip a beat just as he threw.
Hit Thomas and the Broncos win 30-27. But instead of a touchdown, it became fourth down and the Broncos lost 27-23.
“I threw it where I wanted to, just a little high,’’ Keenum said in his weekly press conference Wednesday. “It was just a little bit off, and that’s the game, it’s a game of inches. Would I like to have that one back? Heck, yeah. But I know we’re going to make a lot more of those than we don’t. I gave it my best shot, and I can’t lose any more sleep over it. We’ve got more games to play and we have a tough test this week. So, I’ve squashed it, I’ve learned from it and I’ve moved on. I think we’re going to make a lot more of those plays than we don’t.”
The key for the Broncos, as they reached the quarter pole of the season, is that Keenum continues to get better starting Sunday against the New York Jets in the Meadowlands.
“I think we haven’t played our best football yet, and we’ve had a chance to win every game,’’ Keenum said. “We put ourselves in that situation. I think learning from these experiences is going to give us a lot more experience. A lot more to pull back on when the games come down to December and January when they’re really big-time games. I’m excited where we’re at. I’m even more excited about where we’re heading.”
Keenum has battled his entire career to get to where he is now. After several years as a No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback, he is a franchise quarterback with a two-year, $36 million contract. But if the Broncos are to play big games in December, he has to play a little better.