December 30, 2015

NAPA, Calif. (AP) Beating the San Francisco 49ers in the regular-season finale would accomplish two big things for St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher.

A win would be the Rams' fourth in a row and mark their longest streak in more than a decade. It also would enable Fisher to avoid a fourth consecutive losing season since he took over the top spot in St. Louis.

Quarterback Case Keenum has even more at stake.

Keenum, who overcame a midseason concussion to help lead the recent surge, is scheduled to become a free agent in the offseason and there is no guarantee that the journeyman will return to St. Louis.

''It's not for me to say, that's not my job,'' Keenum said Wednesday. ''I grade myself in wins and losses and how we did that game. Obviously I want to play well, lead the team and be the best quarterback I can be, and that's putting the team in the best possible chance to win.''

The Rams have done that effectively over the past month since Keenum returned to the starting lineup after sitting out two games with a concussion he suffered late in a Week 11 loss to Baltimore.

St. Louis has won three straight for the first time this season and could extend that streak to four with a win at San Francisco on Sunday. The Rams have not had a four-game winning streak since 2003.

Overall, Keenum is 5-1 over his last six starts dating to his final two games with Houston in 2014.

''Case has been playing good football for us,'' Fisher said. ''We were a play away in regulation from winning that (Baltimore) game. Then he suffered the concussion. He's very close to being 4-0 as a starter. He's done a really good job for us.''

But has it been enough?

St. Louis already already has two quarterbacks under contract for next season: Nick Foles, whom they acquired from Philadelphia in an offseason trade, and third-round draft pick Sean Mannion.

Foles was signed to a two-year, $24.5 million extension by the Rams. Even though he struggled as a starter this season and was benched in favor of Keenum, the 26-year-old will likely have the upper hand heading into the offseason.

Keenum has been down this road before.

An undrafted free agent who spent his entire rookie season on Houston's practice squad, Keenum put up respectable numbers for the Texans after taking over for ineffective Matt Schaub for the final eight games of 2013.

But he was released and signed by St. Louis the following year, beginning a strange odyssey that saw Keenum bounce back and forth between the Rams and Texans over a seven-month period. Houston eventually traded him to St. Louis on March 11 in exchange for a seventh-round pick.

The 27-year-old Keenum is hoping to finally find a permanent home. If not in St. Louis, then somewhere.

''Any time the lights come on or we step on the field and the film's on, that film goes around to everybody,'' Keenum said. ''They see everything from a lot of different views. In the NFL, that's what your resume is, what you put on tape. I want to put everything on tape that is the best I can.''

Keenum has had moderate success during the Rams' winning streak. He's completed nearly 68 percent of his pass attempts (42 of 62) for461 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

The flipside to that is that St. Louis seems to be winning in spite of its passing game. In the three wins, Keenum has failed to throw for more than 124 yards, including last's week's upset of Seattle when he passed for just 103.

But the Rams coaches say they're encouraged by what they've seen from Keenum and hope he can build off his success with a strong showing against the 49ers on Sunday.

''He's a natural leader,'' said Rob Boras, who assumed the play-calling chores earlier this month when offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti was relieved of his duties.

''Guys like playing for him. He's got a grasp of what we're trying to do. I think just continuing along that same path. It's not going to change. I don't see the formula for us changing a whole lot. It's him finding a way to get the completions and take the shots when they're there for us. Really, playing the game that he's been playing.''

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