Keenum doomed by Colts’ second-half surge

With two minutes left in the game, the largest crowd in Houston Texans’ history began filing out of the stadium, assured that their team would fall just short to the Indianapolis Colts.


Case Keenum nearly won his first home start against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

Just an hour earlier, it seemed as if quarterback Case Keenum would lead the Texans to a victory, as he had so many times for UH. He threw three first half touchdowns to receiver Andre Johnson, leading the Texans to a 21-3 halftime lead.

But it wasn’t to be for Keenum and the Texans, as Houston native Andrew Luck led his team to a 27-24 victory at Reliant Stadium on Sunday.

The Texans received the ball with 48 seconds and drove down the field, but a 55-yard field goal attempt fell short, pushing the Texans to 2-6.

Keenum’s first half followed the narrative of a nostalgic replay of his nine touchdown passes against Rice, but the 30 minutes following the break was a plot twist that turned a romantic comedy into a tragic drama.

Those who watched Keenum during his six years at UH weren’t surprised when he hit Johnson in stride deep twice for first quarter touchdowns and the Cougars’ fanbase certainly didn’t bat an eye when he tossed a third touchdown pass in the second quarter. The names of his receivers had changed, but the city and results Keenum provided had not.

Instead of passes to former UH receivers Tyron Carrier and Patrick Edwards, Keenum helped lead Johnson to a career day with 229 yards and three touchdowns.

“I remember standing in the tunnel thinking, this is pretty cool,” Keenum said.

He gave the Texans a spark by being accurate on his throws, attacking the Colts vertically and using his mobility to extend plays. Keenum finished with 350 yards and three touchdowns.

However, the Texans couldn’t recapture the same magic in the second half.

Following 21 points in the first half, the team managed only three in the second, while Luck and the Colts shined. Luck found Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton three times for scores in the second half. After struggling in the first half to find a connection with receivers, Luck finished with 271 yards and three touchdowns.

“We just don’t seem to make the plays at the right time,” said defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. “We played so well in the first half, but we couldn’t finish the game off.”

After a field goal attempt that would have put the Texans ahead by three scores missed, Luck promptly connected with Hilton for 58 yards and a touchdown to bring the Colts within five points. Luck found Hilton again from nine yards out to give the Colts a 27-24 lead after a 2-point conversion.

The adversity piled up for Keenum and the Texans. All-pro running back Arian Foster left the game on the first drive with a back injury and never returned.

Head coach Gary Kubiak fell to his knees as he was heading to the tunnel for halftime. He was taken to the hospital, but did not suffer a heart attack, according to the Texans.

Keenum made plays and gave the Texans a spark, but Luck became the hero on Sunday Night Football.

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  • kubiak’s illness distracted them.

    I think the texans can make a run at the playoffs if keenum keeps playing like does.

    The texans have to play the colts again and have to play the patriots.

    However, the rest of the schedule is not that hard. They play jacksonville twice.

    Also the jets are the team to beat for a wild card berth, and they are only 3 games ahead of the texans.

    • I also feel that somehow, Gary’s incident had some affect on the second half. It was like watching two completely different games.

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