Case Keenum’s (untimely) mistake problem
During the 2017 season, the Broncos would have killed for a QB rating of 97.9, which was Keenum’s rating in this loss to the Chiefs.
They were undefeated when the QB rating was that high last year, granted it was a smaller sample size.
The point is, the Broncos didn’t lose any games last year when the quarterback played above average or better, and this performance — at least statistically — was good enough for the Broncos to win the game.
So, given Keenum’s play as a passer in this game, what went wrong? Well, it seems like the Broncos’ starting quarterback has a horrible habit of making mistakes at the worst possible times.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Broncos picked off a Patrick Mahomes pass, not long after scoring a touchdown to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 10 points.
Right after that interception, Keenum and the Broncos’ offense had the ball in Kansas City territory after a huge Devontae Booker run, and Keenum held the ball too long on a drop back before getting sacked and stripped of the ball, leading to a turnover for the Chiefs.
The Broncos still had some chances after this play, but with the ball in scoring position early in the fourth quarter, this was a very poorly timed turnover for Keenum.
The Denver defense held on the next possession by the Chiefs again, and the Broncos got the ball back again with a chance to get back in the game. The first three plays of a four-play drive went for 11, five, and five yards on runs to Phillip Lindsay.
The fourth play was a flea flicker, and Keenum threw an interception in the direction of Demaryius Thomas to Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller.
This sequence in the fourth quarter of two drives (in a row) ended by Keenum turnovers was ultimately the difference in the game. The Broncos had a chance for at least three points on both of these drives and probably more if Keenum either simply throws the football away instead of into harm’s way, or throws it away instead of holding onto it for too long.
Keenum took five sacks in this game, and not all were entirely his fault, but he sprinkled in some really untimely bad decisions in an otherwise okay game.