Coach Kubiak's backup quarterback decision did not get any easier after the Texans' 24-6 win at Dallas. Case Keenum was pleased with his performance Thursday night against the Cowboys - so was T.J. Yates.
With the Texans trimming their roster to 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday, Thursday' game was the last chance to secure a spot on the team. Those not cut could end up on the practice squad. Head coach Gary Kubiak is concerned about losing a quarterback to another team, if placed on the practice squad and alluded that he may keep three on the roster.
"I have to do that in the morning, but it's a dang good chance," Kubiak said Thursday."Those two guys played like that, I don't think we expose them to anybody else."
Keenum and Yates, vying for the second roster spot behind Matt Schaub, each played a half in the Texans win over the Cowboys.
"I feel really good I think we were running the ball really well," Keenum said after the game. "The offensive line did a heck of a job and Cierre (Wood) came to play today. Being able to run the ball opened up play action and a lot of that stuff… It started with the offensive line. It was a really good game."
Keenum wasted no time, scoring on a five-yard touchdown run by Dennis Johnson on the Texan's opening drive of the game. Keenum, set a franchise record with the most passing yards in preseason, surpassing David Carr's previous total of 441 yards. In the second quarter, Keenum's 27-yard touchdown pass to Lestar Jean catapulted the wide receiver to a record-breaking, franchise-high three preseason touchdown catches. With a passer rating of 126.4, Keenum finished 9-for-13 for 128 yards and the touchdown.
"We both played really well again," Yates said. "It all starts again with our offensive line and being able to run the ball. That opens up our offensive and makes us so versatile. We can do pretty much anything offensively when we're running the ball like that. They're making it easy on us."
Yates orchestrated a eight-play, 59-yard drive that set up a 39-yard field goal by Randy Bullock in the third quarter. At the start of the fourth quarter, Yates connected with Andy Cruse for a 21-yard touchdown pass on a drag route. It was the fourth touchdown of the preseason for Yates, who completed the half on 8-of-11 for 109 yards, one touchdown, and a quarterback rating of 134.3.
Both quarterbacks credited the offensive line for the success of the running game. Despite the starters resting for the final preseason game, the Texans o-line supported the run game, allowing 190 yards on 40 carries, averaging 4.8 yards per play.
"Especially those two and three o-lines, being able to run the ball like that and giving the backs open lanes to run free on those guys," Yates said. "It's a testament to the coaches, all these players all camp long just pushing, working hard, getting better. No matter where they are on the depth chart, those guys are still working hard."
The backup quarterback race has been an ongoing storyline in the Texans preseason. Both have performed well under pressure and risen to the challenge, according to Kubiak.
"Well, they both played pretty darn good," Kubiak said. " If you look at it, it's been that way the whole camp. They have both their job. It's really just a matter of us sitting down and deciding which way we go to start the season. I want to keep them competitive all year long, regardless of which way I go. Because I think, boy has it both made them better and made our team better. But, we will sit down and talk about it as coaches; I'm in no hurry here. Probably make that decision before we start our preparation next Thursday. But, statistically they have both been incredible."