THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Looking back, Case Keenum wishes he could've kept things simpler.
"I was seeing ghosts," the Los Angeles Rams quarterback said when asked to assess his poor performance on Monday Night Football. "I was seeing things that weren’t there. I wasn’t trusting myself and my abilities. I tried too hard. I just have to let the game come to me, take what the defense gives me, trust my teammates -- they do a great job -- and get the ball out of my hands to the right place.”
Keenum didn't do that nearly enough in a demoralizing, 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. He went 17-of-35 for 130 yards and two interceptions, leading an offense that went 3-for-15 on third downs, amassed 185 yards from scrimmage and did not take a single snap inside the 49ers' 20-yard line. Among the 32 quarterbacks who started in Week 1, Keenum had the lowest passer rating and the fewest yards per dropback.
Just as troubling was that the Rams' entire passing attack remained horizontal, with very few vertical throws that stretched the field and kept the Niners from stacking the box.
Keenum boiled it all down to one word: "Trust."
"Just trust what you see and let it fly," Keenum said. "That’s what I’m going to do -- I’m going to trust. That’s a word I’m going to use this whole week -- trust. That’s trust my protection, that’s trust my mechanics, my rules, my footwork, and trust what I see, trust the guys out there, get the ball into the hands of those guys that can make plays.”
Keenum faced a Niners defense that did a nice job of bringing pressure and swallowing up intermediate routes.
Keenum only completed two pass plays of more than 20 yards, both to Kenny Britt. He missed on some throws, most notably on his fourth-quarter interception, a pass that should have been thrown to the inside of tight end Lance Kendricks but was instead to the outside. But the vast majority of Keenum's 18 incompletions were the result of either miscommunication with his receiver, pressure from the Niners' front seven or because his intended target was well-covered.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he will decide whether No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff will be the backup "later this week," but Keenum will remain his starter.
"I feel like I can help this team, but it's up to the coaches," said Goff, who added that he is merely trying to help Keenum in any way possible. "I'll be ready whenever that time comes."
The time has not come. Goff will be on the sidelines -- either in uniform or in warm-ups -- when the Rams face the Seattle Seahawks and their aggressive, stifling defense, which is led by two of the game's best defensive backs in Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Keenum had a nice game in a victory over the Seahawks last year, going 14-of-23 for 103 yards and a touchdown in Week 16.
But that means nothing now.
"They’re a new team and we’re a new team," Keenum said. "We’ve got a new challenge ahead of us. And a new opportunity, really. All these adversity challenges, it’s really opportunities. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”