The buzz after Monday night’s 27-23 win by Kansas City was the play of young quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The attention Mahomes got after his incredible performance – including a left-handed pass to convert on third down – helped overshadow the struggles of Denver quarterback Case Keenum.
Keenum completed 21 of 33 for 245 yards but for the third straight game he didn’t have a touchdown pass. He had three in the first game of the season but none since the opening win against Seattle.
Meanwhile Mahomes has passed for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns for the 4-0 Chiefs. He hasn’t thrown an interception nor lost a fumble despite constantly scrambling.
The Broncos (2-2) signed Keenum to a two-year, $36 million free agent contract in the offseason to juice up an offense that has struggled for three seasons but so far he has underwhelmed.
He hasn’t lost the confidence of his head coach.
“Case can always play better. But I’m proud of his grit and how he fights and comes back,” Vance Joseph said Tuesday. “Our team trusts Case Keenum. We all believe in Case Keenum. He gives us hope. I’m proud of the grit that he’s shown because it goes through our team that way.”
Joseph talked up Keenum’s ability to drive the team down the field, which he did in the final 1:39 of Monday night’s loss, but what was lacking was finishing the drive. He overthrew wide-open receiver Demaryius Thomas near the goal line with 16 seconds left which essentially ended any comeback hopes.
The overthrow made Mahomes pretty happy, as you can see.
It was the kind of completion Denver wanted when it pursued Keenum in the offseason.
“There’s a few, especially those type plays, that I’ll lose a little sleep over, thinking about it, laying at night in bed,” Keenum said Monday night. “It’s a tough one. It stings.”
OUT OF GAS: The Broncos rushers chased Mahomes in futility Monday night, and the quarterback’s ability to get outside of the pocket wore on Denver defenders. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. went to the locker room in the second half to get an IV because was cramping up.
“He made us cover for a long time. I had to go inside and get an IV,” Harris said Monday night. “I had to get two IVs and I was just done. Just playing those extra times, he made us scramble in coverage the whole game. We couldn’t sack this man.”
PIVOTAL WEEK: The Broncos started 2-0, just like last season, but they want to avoid a collapse similar to 2017. Denver lost eight of its next nine games and finished 5-11 and won only one road game.
That makes this week’s game in New Jersey against the 1-3 New York Jets important.