By Matt Hammond, Sports Radio 610By Matt Hammond

Case Keenum’s grip on the Houston Texans backup quarterback job is slipping, compliments of rookie Tom Savage.

Said head coach Bill O’Brien at his day-after press conference Sunday, following their 18-17 win over the Denver Broncos:

“I would say it’s pretty close. I think it’s pretty close. We’re discussing that right now. Both guys had good moments last night, but I think that Tom Savage definitely closed the gap, and it’s pretty close.

“I would say that Keenum’s still two, but it’s a good tight race between two really competitive guys.”

It’s been equal parts Keenum’s struggles and Savage’s successes.

Keenum hasn’t looked good all camp, struggling with his accuracy and holding onto the ball too long. It was much of the same on Saturday. The second-year man out of Houston had 74 yards on 11 of 18 passing, bringing his preseason totals to 258 yards on 31 for 53 passing with no touchdowns and an interception.

Savage, meanwhile, looked sharp on Saturday, leading Houston’s third-teamers on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, capped with a 31-yard touchdown strike to tight end Ryan Griffin. Equally impressive was Savage’s poise before the snap on a chaotic two-point conversion. Savage made a mistake in not calling the play right after the official blew the whistle to start the play clock, O’Brien said, and with everything else going on before the snap — players going in motion, Savage reading the defense and making sure everyone was set — it made for a hectic few moments. But Savage kept his cool and Travis Labhart in the end zone for the win.

The 2014 fourth rounder finished 5 of 6 with 68 yards and that touchdown, giving him 16 of 20 with 158 yards and one touchdown to no interceptions.

O’Brien was sure to pump the brakes on Savage love.

“Let’s be real clear here now: he’s got a long way to go,” he said. “We’re not headed for Hawaii and the Pro Bowl now. We’re talking about battling for the number two job.”

Equally clear, though: O’Brien is liking what he’s seeing from Savage.

Maybe enough that No. 3 becomes his number two.

Maybe even before Preseason Week 4.

Hear Matt weekends on Sports Radio 610

Follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow


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