Case Keenum was game. Wade Phillips' defense, honoring his deceased father, turned in a tremendous effort. The Houston Texans lost Arian Foster and Brian Cushing to injuries in the game and yet they took the Kansas City Chiefs to the brink.
It wasn't enough.
The Chiefs gutted their way to 7-0. And though the Texans fell to 2-5 in what has been a nightmarish season, they showed guts that have not been seen since the overtime win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 2.
Keenum was tabbed to make his first NFL start in place of an injured — and emotionally bruised — Matt Schaub, and the task appeared daunting: facing the menacing Chiefs defense, which led the NFL in sacks coming in, and at Arrowhead Stadium, which just the week prior had set the outdoor-stadium noise record.
But Keenum held firm for most of the game, completing 15-of-25 passes for 271 yards and a gorgeous early touchdown pass downfield to DeAndre Hopkins. What undid Keenum, who struggled after a hot start, were five second-half sacks taken, including one in the final two minutes in his own end. Call it a "rookie mistake" in Keenum's first start, holding onto the ball too long, even though he was on the team's practice squad a year ago.
For the Chiefs, they are lucky to get out unscathed. Although the defense rose up in the second half and there were just enough big plays — including a controversial Alex Smith scramble — to vault them to a seventh straight victory. There won't be too many easy victories from here on out.
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