Keenum had three touchdown passes in his Denver debut but also threw three interceptions in the 27-24 win over Seattle on Sept. 9. He hasn't thrown for a score since, and the Broncos' offense is stuck in a rut. Keenum, who has two interceptions in the past two games, is only partly to blame for the team averaging just 17 points in the last two games, head coach Vance Joseph said Monday.
"After watching the film two or three times, it was a lot of self-inflicted wounds," Joseph said. "Offensively, I thought we moved the ball OK. We were in the scoring zones a lot and the penalties pushed us out of scoring zones. That's disappointing. Most of it was good calls."
Tackle Garett Bolles had two crucial holding calls that helped stall drives in Baltimore territory on Sunday. The Broncos had 13 penalties for 120 yards overall, which helped kill scoring opportunities. One came on a block in the back by Domata Peko Sr. that happened well behind the play to negate Chris Harris Jr.'s touchdown return of a blocked field goal attempt.
"I've got to just man up to it and be smarter. Next time that happens, just don't even run," Peko told reporters Monday. "Just stop and let them go. But I was just hustling, doing what I'm taught to do, finishing the play and running down. Just trying to get a block."
Denver's only scores in a 27-14 loss to Baltimore came on Royce Freeman's 6-yard run on the first play after a blocked punt, and Emmanuel Sanders' 35-yard sweep. Those scores came on the Broncos' first two possessions. They finished the game with seven straight punts, an interception and a turnover on downs.
Keenum was under pressure for much of the day and was hurried into a few bad passes. However, he hasn't lost Joseph's confidence.
"Case is going to play better and better with time. He missed practice on Wednesday this week and that could have affected how fast he played with the ball," Joseph said. "But I am not concerned. He does so many good things during the game, it keeps you hopeful that he's going to play better and better as we go along here.
"That's a tough defense to prepare for. They gave us some different looks that we weren't prepared for. We adjusted, obviously. He didn't play perfect, but he didn't play bad either."
Denver won Super Bowl 50 with a dominant defense featuring two shutdown corners and a fierce pass rush. The players in the secondary dubbed their unit the "No Fly Zone," but lately it has been open for business for opposing quarterbacks.
In Week 2, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr set an NFL completion record with a 29-of-32 performance, and on Sunday, Baltimore's Joe Flacco was 25-of-40 for 277 yards and found open receivers all afternoon.
Injuries played a part. Cornerback Adam Jones was inactive with a thigh injury and Tramaine Brock, who was the third cornerback in Jones' absence, left the game with a left groin strain, forcing rookie Isaac Yiadom into action.
Harris told reporters after Sunday's loss that the secondary has to do a better job of disguising coverages. It will be imperative when Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes is under center on Monday night.
Mahomes has 13 touchdown passes in his first three games and looks like an early MVP candidate for the 3-0 Chiefs. He will be a stern test for the Denver defense.
"They've got an explosive offense right now and their defense is making plays, too," nose tackle Shelby Harris told reporters on Monday. "For us, we've just got to go out there and play our game."
CB Tramaine Brock, who left Sunday's game with a left groin strain, underwent an MRI on Monday that coach Vance Joseph said looked to be OK. Joseph added that Brock should be able to practice this week.
CB Adam Jones was inactive for Sunday's loss to Baltimore, but Joseph said he will practice this week and should be able to play Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
T Jared Veldheer played Sunday after clearing the concussion protocol earlier in the week. Veldheer left the win over the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 17.
DE Bradley Chubb recorded the first solo sack of his career. The rookie and fifth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft got to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on the second play of the game.
QB Case Keenum has not thrown a touchdown pass in two straight games. He had three in the opener against Seattle but now has three touchdown passes and five interceptions in the first three games.