A week after having the best performance of his career, Case Keenum had one of his worst.
That doesn’t mean the Los Angeles Rams are ready to change starting quarterbacks just yet.
Keenum threw four interceptions, including one in the end zone with 42 seconds remaining, in the Rams’ 17-10 loss to the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.
And though Keenum was tabbed as the Rams’ starting quarterback over Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, coach Jeff Fisher said after the game that Goff will remain on the bench.
“The quarterback is not the reason, by the way, that we lost (the last) three games,” Fisher said. “I’m staying with Case.”
His first interception, a high throw in the second quarter that deflected off the hands of wide receiver Tavon Austin, was recovered by Giants strong safety Landon Collins and returned 44 yards for a touchdown.
The other three occurred on the final three drives of the game. One throw was tipped by Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson before being caught by Collins, and another was intended for Austin in the end zone when it was undercut by cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The fourth was grabbed by Rodgers-Cromartie when, after changing the call on third-and-10 from the Giants 15-yard line with 50 seconds remaining, Keenum threw too far inside Brian Quick, the intended receiver.
Until that point, the Rams (3-4) drove 65 yards in 12 plays over 2:21 and seemed on the verge of tying the score.
“What I saw pre-snap was they were going to pressure us,” said Keenum, who completed 32 of a career-high 53 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown. “I was just trying to get Brian a chance in the back of the end zone. I didn’t see it well enough. We weren’t on the same page.”
Keenum threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to the Detroit Lions a week earlier and set a franchise record with 19 consecutive completions — including a 18-for-18 mark in the third quarter.
He seemed to carry that momentum into the game against the Giants (4-3), completing nine of his 10 first-quarter attempts, as the Rams gained 122 yards and took a 10-0 lead.
They gained only 106 yards over the next two quarters, though, and punted on their seven possessions following Collins’ first interception — a streak that was broken by his second.
The Giants’ defense, ranked 22nd against the pass entering Sunday, had forced only three turnovers, two of which were interceptions by cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
“It’s a momentum-changer,” Collins said. “When you get an interception, it takes a lot out of the defense on the other side of the field and takes a lot out of that offense because that’s where the trust issues come in.”
Keenum has thrown for eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season. He had an interception returned for a go-ahead touchdown by the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago and threw one that squandered the Rams’ final drive against the Lions.
“Take a look at the tape,” Fisher said. “See who’s responsible for the interceptions. … I’ll make changes at receiver before I make changes with the quarterback.”
The Rams selected Keenum as their starter early in training camp despite Goff’s presence. He ascended to that role last November, when the Rams benched Nick Foles, and had seemingly grown more comfortable in the offense during a recent three-game winning streak.
Goff, who completed only 44.9 percent of his passes over all four preseason games, has gotten only limited work as Keenum’s backup. The Rams also have Sean Mannion on their roster.
“Jared’s going to play when we feel Jared’s ready, you know?” Fisher said. “Had we won this game, you wouldn’t have been asking about Jared, which I understand. We didn’t lose this game because of quarterback play today. We lost because of other positions.”
The Rams enter the bye week with a three-game losing streak, and a season that seemed to hold promise after wins over the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals appears much more unsteady.
That layoff gives Fisher ample opportunity to reconsider his stance — but also could give him a chance to diagnose other issues plaguing the Rams’ offense.
“We’re going to recharge our batteries,” Keenum said. “We’re going to hit the ground running next week. I think we’re all ready to roll off a few games in our favor.”