Usually this post would have been a cinch to write, but Sunday's game was an odd one. The defense was stout, the offense was meh, but there were no two players that played next to each other that particularly stood out. If there was one, I would have no idea until I go back and watch the All-22.
Side note-I'm going to start watching the film on Wednesday night and have a GATA done on Friday. The game previews and reviews are probably dead because (A) We do this on Battle Red Radio (B) I am starved for time because of work and (C) The season is over and film reviews are much more beneficial at this point in the season as we throw our general manager hats on. Also, I'm sure that's what the people want from here on out. Hopefully next year, I will have enough money saved up to write the game review/preview posts again.
Since I have to write this post on Tuesday, I'll have to be conventional and go with Andre Johnson and Case Keenum again. Against Arizona, Andre Johnson was ridiculous as usual, but this time it came against a top five corner in Patrick Peterson. Johnson was blanketed by Peterson for most of the game, yet he still made circus catches that are rarely seen in NFL Street let alone this thing we call real life. The Cardinals' strategy was perfect to stop Houston's offense with a hobbled Ben Tate. They big-blitzed Case, who has had trouble reading the blitz behind an offensive line that hasn't been any better at picking it up, and made sure to not let Andre beat them deep. Arizona worked this strategy to perfection in the second half, but Keenum still continued to make every Matt Schaub-Andre Johnson locker room interaction as uncomfortable as possible.
Since Keenumania has spread across the nation like gravy splattered on the floor during a Thanksgiving Day brawl, Andre Johnson has been the greatest benefactor. This season. 'Dre's stats look like this:
His numbers are remarkable. He has even posted a DYAR (Defense Adjusted Yards Above Replacement) of 229, which is behind only Jordy Nelson and the cyborg that masks his identity with the name of Calvin Johnson. Additionally, he is posting a DVOA of 21.4% (14th), even though he spent six weeks catching passes from Schaub, who has a DVOA of -17% (28th). If we look at the Keenum-compared-to-Schaub splits, it's amazing the difference Case "Eff It I'm Going Deep" Keenum has made on Andre Johnson.
What has changed the most is just the simple fact that Schaub can throw the ball only fifteen yards and Keenum can throw the ball 40-50 yards in the air. These passes have been there all season, and the offense has just been aching for a quarterback to deliver results like this.
I declared last week that the rest of the season will be a Case Keenum job interview. However, if Keenum wants to stave off a first round quarterback selection, he will need to do a better job staying in the pocket, reading the blitz, and throwing intermediate routes. It will be fascinating to see if Keenum can overcome defensive strategies like what Arizona utilized and how he performs against teams that he won't catch off-guard anymore.