Case Keenum: a) A Star Is Born, Or b) The Texans Will Always Be The Texans
Has there ever been an odder night at Reliant Stadium?
Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher Case Keenum had a terrific night.
A thrilling star-is-born first half by UH's Case Keenum, which seemed to rock the stadium to its core, ended with coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field and taken to the hospital. The Texans -- for whatever reason -- then reverted to their frustration-inducing form in the second half, putting up just three points as the Indianapolis Colts won 27-24.
The team's hopes of rescuing the season all but ended as kicker Randy Bullock missed his third field goal attempt of the night as time expired.
The loss was the Texans' sixth in a row.
There will be plenty of talk about what effect Kubiak's incident had on the outcome. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took over the head-coaching duties, but the offense that had exploded in the first half struggled in the second. (Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison called the plays in the second half.)
"We were all very worried and upset about that but trying to stay focused at the same time." Keenum told the media after the game.
Keenum's first half became a special moment in Houston sports history, as he teamed with Andre Johnson for downfield passes that had long seemed utterly foreign to Texans fans. Just two plays into the game, he and Johnson hooked up on a 62-yard TD pass.
Keenum ended the game 20-of-34 for 350 yards and three touchdowns, and Johnson had nine catches for 229 yards.
The Texans' offense just seemed to have been transformed, with an energy and unpredictability that had been missing in their ongoing struggles this season.
All of which made the second-half performance more disheartening. As the game came to a close, there seemed an inevitability to the Colts' eventual win, a feeling that the same old Texans, the ones fans have grown to be exasperated by, had returned.
Keenum or no Keenum, the Texans found a way to lose, at home, a game they needed desperately to win and seemingly had in hand.
Even if they have found a local-boy hero QB -- and there's no guarantee they have -- the rest of the season looks to be a long, hard slog for fans.
Kubiak may return to work as soon as Monday, Texans general manager Rick Smith told the media. We wish him the best, but a very odd night in Reliant Stadium has likely left him without much chance of turning things around.
Send your story tips to the author, Richard Connelly.