ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Quarterbacks are lighting it up at a record-setting pace this season with 228 touchdown throws in the first month of the season.
Case Keenum hasn’t joined the party.
The Denver Broncos’ new quarterback has just three touchdown passes — none since the opener against Seattle — and his six interceptions are just one shy of the total he had last season in Minnesota.
Keenum is the first Broncos QB since John Elway in 1986 to go three consecutive games with 20 throws and zero touchdowns.
“Is it a concern? Not really,” coach Vance Joseph said Wednesday. “Our concern is winning football games. … But Case is going to get better and better with time. We’re figuring out who we are as an offense. It’s a month into the season, I’ve been proud of how Case is playing.”
If Keenum throws a touchdown pass Sunday when the Broncos (2-2) visit the Jets (1-3), it’ll be his first in 28 days.
“I don’t care how we get into the end zone,” Keenum said. “Obviously, I like throwing touchdowns. I like when those guys are running them in, too. We’ve got two great backs” in rookies Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay.
“They’re doing a great job. But we’ve got a bunch of targets. Receivers, tight ends, they want to get into the end zone, too,” Keenum said. “So, whatever it takes. I know the whole team is that way and whatever it takes to score more points than the other team, whether it’s run or pass” is the goal. “But yeah, we’d love to get more passes going.”
Keenum would have had a fourth TD pass to go with his third fourth-quarter comeback for the Broncos had he connected with a wide-open Demaryius Thomas streaking down the sideline Monday night in the final seconds of Denver’s 27-23 loss to the Chiefs in which they squandered a 10-point fourth-quarter lead.
On third down from the Kansas City 28 with 22 seconds left, Keenum saw the cornerback jam Thomas, then release him to the safeties, both of whom were deep in the end zone.
No linebacker to layer to throw over.
No safeties to freeze with his eyes.
No over-the-shoulder pinpoint pass needed.
Just a basic delivery to his big receiver.
Keenum stepped up and … rifled it over Thomas’ head .
Keenum loved the play call by offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who’s taken some heat for using three-receiver sets without a fullback or tight end on a three-and-out series sandwiched between Patrick Mahomes ‘ two TD drives that rallied the unbeaten Chiefs.
“It was a great play call by Bill, trying to take a shot at the end zone and they played two high safeties,” Keenum said. “I threw it where I wanted to, just a little high. It was just a little bit off. And that’s the game. It’s a game of inches. Would I have liked to have that one back? Heck yeah. But I know we’re going to make a lot more of those than we don’t.
“So, I gave it my best shot and I can’t lose anymore sleep over it,” Keenum said. “We’ve got a lot more games to play. We’ve got a tough test this week. So, I’ve squashed it. I’ve learned from it. I’ve moved on.”
Being in all four games with a chance to pull out the win gives Keenum hope he can find his rhythm like he did in leading the Vikings to the NFC championship game last season.
“We haven’t played our best football yet and we’ve had a chance to win every game,” Keenum said. “… I’m excited where we’re at. I’m even more excited where we’re headed.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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