Rams quarterback Case Keenum likes the surroundings. He’s enjoying the luxurious, sprawling, tree-lined resort where the team is encamped outside the city.
“We’ve got a good pitch here,” Keenum, affecting the appropriate vernacular, said Wednesday after practice on the resort’s field where England’s national rugby team trains.
The Rams just had completed the first day of preparation for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium.
Keenum is focused on another kind of finish. The elusive kind. The kind that wins games.
Consider: Last week against the Detroit Lions, Keenum produced perhaps the best statistical performance of his NFL career.
He completed a team-record 19 consecutive passes at one point.
“He got very comfortable,” Coach Jeff Fisher said. “The game slowed down for him.”
Said offensive lineman Rodger Saffold: “Nobody knew how well he was doing until after the game…. He didn’t even know it — and he was the one throwing ’em.”
Keenum passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown.
“I thought I gave guys chances to make plays down the field,” he said.
It was all for naught.
Keenum had a pass intercepted with a little more than a minute left, sealing the Rams’ 31-28 defeat.
“I’ve got to — we’ve got to — finish,” Keenum said. “To have the ball in your hands with a chance to tie or win the game with a minute-and-half left, you’ve got to do it in this league.”
“It’s something I want to do and I know I can do and know this team can do.”
The game against the Lions was not the first time Keenum came up short.
In the previous week’s defeat against the Buffalo Bills, the Rams had the ball twice in the final minutes. They went three-and-out and then tried an ill-fated fake punt that led to a Buffalo touchdown and an 11-point lead.
Keenum, 28, had been a career backup until Fisher anointed him the starter going into offseason workouts.
He did not flinch when the Rams traded up to the top of the draft to select quarterback Jared Goff. Keenum played well during the exhibition season and kept his job. And his performance in defeat Sunday quelled some of the calls for the Rams to turn over the offense to Goff immediately.
Keenum is still learning about himself, he said.
“I never want to feel like I’ve arrived or gotten ‘there,’ wherever ‘there’ is,” he said. “I think that’s what all the good ones do — they continue to get better, no matter how much they’ve played or how many games they’ve played or how much experience they have.”
But Keenum would like to add to his resume by leading the Rams to victory with a late-game drive.
“All the great ones, they’re known for never being out of a game,” he said. “That’s definitely something that I want to take pride in.
“No matter what the situation is, I want to be able to go down and score points.”
It’s been several days — and several thousand miles — since the loss to Detroit, but middle linebacker Alec Ogletree still feels responsible.
So there’s a new goal for the unit he leads.
“Play 10 times better on defense,” he said. “It started with me just talking to the guys and getting everybody’s mind right.
“We’re going to have a different approach this week. It’s the same thing we’ve been doing but we just need to just focus in a lot more and make sure we get back to what we were doing.”
The Giants feature quarterback Eli Manning and receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz.
“They can put up 40 points in a matter of seconds if you’re not careful,” Ogletree said.
Defensive tackle Michael Brockers did not practice because of a thigh injury. Brockers was sidelined against Buffalo because of a hip injury but returned against the Lions and suffered the new injury. Defensive end Robert Quinn (shoulder) was limited.... Former Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins has two interceptions for the Giants.