T.J. Yates and Case Keenum, playing the third and fourth quarter of Sunday's game, respectively, each had a chance to separate themselves in the Texans backup quarterback competition.
Yates may have inched ahead of Keenum with his performance in the Texans 31-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Second off the bench after Matt Schaub, the third-year quarterback was 7-for-9 with 73 yards, one touchdown, and a passer rating of 137.5. Yates started the second half and connected with Alec Lemon on a pass up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown on his second drive.
"I tell you, it's the run game," Yates said. "Once we get that run game going, it opens up everything; the keeper game. " You get some wide open guys downfield and it gets you into a rhythm. I don't have to worry about completing a pass to get the guys going. We can get the run going and get the defense on their heels and keep them guessing."
Case Keenum, who received third-team reps, completed 10-of-14 passes for 79 yards but was unable to score. On the Texans' final possession of the game, Keenum led the offense down field but could not convert on a 4th-and-6 pass to wide receiver Alec Lemon, which could have sent the game into overtime.
"You know it wasn't my best," Keenum said of his performance on Sunday. "We put ourselves in a chance to win the ballgame there, and I missed a few throws. Missed one really important throw there on fourth down. You know, I'm disappointed. I'm competitive and I want to win. Preseason or not, I want to go win. We had a chance to go tie it up, and go into overtime. You know you learn from it, go watch film, and we had a guy, Lemon ran a great route and I'll hit it next time."
In Thursday's final preseason appearance at Dallas, both Yates and Keenum will get one last attempt to make a case for their spot on the depth chart. Head coach Gary Kubiak plans to let Keenum start first and get the majority of first-team reps.
"It continues to be a difficult position," Kubiak said of the backup quarterback spot. "I think they're both playing well and I'll split them half's this week. We're going to have three good ones. I know that. I think they've all done their job."