Sure, Case Keenum's first three-turnover game of the season was a factor in the Vikings' tough 31-24 loss to the Panthers on Sunday, but Keenum was also the biggest reason Minnesota even had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. Cam Newton went full Superman to save an important victory for the Panthers (9-4) with his 62-yard run late in the fourth quarter that set up the tiebreaking touchdown, but there's no doubt that in a game that was uglier and more defensive-minded than the final score indicates, Keenum was the more efficient quarterback on the field yet again. The individual numbers say that, despite the mistakes, Keenum (27-of-44 passing, 280 yards, two TDs, two INTs, 40 yards rushing, 94.9 rating) outplayed Newton (13 for 25, 137 yards passing, one TD, one INT, 70 yards rushing, 81.6 rating). Keenum also performed with a much higher degree of difficulty: He needed to lift his team because a lot of the things that usually work for it, didn't. The offensive line, missing two key starters — rookie center Pat Elflein and right tackle Mike Remmers, a former Panther — had its worst game of the season. Keenum, under siege, was sacked six times. Minnesota's backfield committee of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon produced only 60 rushing yards. Keenum's downfield scrambling made him his team's most effective source of rushing production. The defense, which is used to shutting down the run, was doomed after giving up a 60-yard scoring burst to Jonathan Stewart. It had another huge lapse in letting Newton cut past its front seven in the end. Stewart became the first 100-yard rusher the Vikings have allowed this season as part of Carolina's shocking 216-yard rushing output. The Vikings had only two penalties accepted against them, but they were consecutive 15-yard facemask calls that facilitated the Panthers' second touchdown drive of the game.
Case Keenum finally cools off, but still reminds Vikings he's invaluable
Sporting News | Dec 11