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Case Keenum to start for Rams; Nick Foles benched

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Three months after giving Nick Foles a two-year contract extension, the St. Louis Rams have decided to bench him.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher announced that Case Keenum will start at quarterback for the Rams at Baltimore this week. Foles has been removed as a starter after two straight losses by the 4-5 Rams.

"You know, Nick just needs a break," Fisher said. "Nick just needs a break right now."

Foles was acquired in a March trade between teams dealing starting quarterbacks when the Rams sent Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for Nick Foles, a 2016 second-round pick and a move up in the middle rounds of last year's draft. The pick is nice, but this benching is tantamount to admitting defeat in the deal.

The timing of this move still is stunning. Keenum, who went undrafted out of college, has started 10 games in four seasons. All of those starts were with the Texans, although Keenum did spend time with the Rams and Texans last season. He's been Foles' backup throughout this season.

Every game, all season

Fisher said his offense needs a spark, which is clear to see. Foles has seven touchdowns, six interceptions and five fumbles. The Rams have very few sustainable features on offense. Their only success comes from Tavon Austin gadget plays and big runs by rookie Todd Gurley. Foles has a big arm and has connected on the occasional deep ball this season, but he has played particularly poorly over the last month.

Foles was 0-12 on passes thrown over 10 yards Sunday, which was the most attempts on such passes without a completion in the last 10 seasons, according to the Rams' website. Fisher wasn't making any promises about how long Keenum would start, but he clearly has the chance to keep the job. St. Louis has a playoff-ready defense, but plenty of challenging games remaining against Cincinnati, Arizona, and Seattle.

Foles might very well get another chance to start at quarterback for the Rams, but Fisher probably hopes it's not necessary. The Rams are letting their Case Keenum flag fly.

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