It was a beautiful first quarter, followed by three dreadful ones.
The Rams opened with a touchdown and a field goal in their first two drives but didn't score again. Case Keenum threw four interceptions and the Rams lost 17-10 to the New York Giants in London. The Rams, who have lost three straight, go into the bye week with a losing record and incessant questions about whether it's time for 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff to take his turn at quarterback.
Keenum began the game by going 5-of-6 for 74 yards, with a touchdown on a 10-yard slant route to Tavon Austin. But then Keenum went 27-of-47 for 217 yards and four interceptions thereafter, putting the Rams at 3-4 despite a three-game winning streak earlier this season.
“Quarterback is not the reason we lost,” Fisher said from London, after falling to 3-4 heading into his team’s bye week. “We’re staying with Case.”
The first three of Keenum's interceptions came on passes intended for Austin. The first went right through Austin's hands and bounced to Landon Collins, who somehow scored on a 44-yard touchdown run in which he shed several tackles. The second was another tipped pass and another interception by Collins, but it came on a poor read and an even worse throw from Keenum. The third came on a deep pass in the end zone for Austin, who was double-covered.
The fourth came on what could've been the game-tying drive, in the end zone without a receiver in sight.
“Take a look at the tape,” Fisher said, “see who’s responsible for the interceptions.”
Fisher was intimating the interceptions fell on his receivers, saying: “We’ll make changes at receiver before I make changes at quarterback.”
Trailing by a touchdown near the two-minute warning, the Rams faced fourth-and-10 after a false start by right tackle Rob Havenstein. It was the eighth penalty of the day for a team that, between the start of the 2012 season and the start of Week 7 of the 2016 season, had compiled the most penalties in the NFL. Tim Barnes then snapped low, but Keenum turned it into a 15-yard pass to Brian Quick that preserved the drive.
Keenum then completed a pass to Quick again, for 23 yards on the outside. But that was followed by incompletions to Kenny Britt, Bradley Marquez and Mike Thomas near the end zone. Facing third-and-10 from the Giants' 15-yard line, Keenum checked off on a play from the line of scrimmage and threw a lob pass to the end zone for what was intended to be a fade route by Quick. But Quick clearly didn't understand the signal. He didn't run his route, and the ball sailed into the hands of Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for his second interception, ending the game.
The Rams outgained the Giants -- 122 yards to 26 -- in the first quarter, and yet they still lost.
It marked the third straight week in which Keenum had a chance to tie or win the game on the final drive and could not come through. In Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills, he went three-and-out, leading to the failed fake punt that set up the touchdown that iced the game. In Week 6 against the Detroit Lions, he threw into triple coverage while trailing by three for a game-ending interception. And in Week 7, he miscommunicated with Quick and threw the pass that capped a four-interception game.
Keenum ranked second in the NFL in completion percentage and fifth in passing yards over the last two weeks, but he didn't come through late. Then he simply played poorly, and now here we go -- it's time to think about playing Goff.