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article imageNFL: Colts struggle without Peyton with a 34-7 loss to Texans

By Austin Tyler     Sep 12, 2011 in Sports
Houston - The question coming into the game was, could Kerry Collins lead the high-powered Colts offense against the Texans up and coming defense. The question was answered as the Texans came out on top with a 34-7 victory.
We all knew coming into the game that Peyton Manning was not walking through that door as he stayed at home when the Houston Texans hosted the Indianapolis Colts for their Week 1 matchup. The Texans added a few pieces to their defense, but the Colts were missing one key piece and that is Manning who is coming off his second neck surgery.
The game started off rocky for the Texans as Matt Schaub (17/24, 220 yards, 1 TD, 2 Int’s) threw an interception on his second pass of the game during the opening drive. Melvin Bullitt intercepted a Schaub pass and returned 15-yards before being taken down.
With the Colts taking over on the drive they only moved the ball 12-yards on five plays. Kerry Collins (16/31, 197 yards, 1 TD) was sacked by Mario William from the Texans as he lost 9-yards and then threw a pass that was to short of the first down and the Colts were forced to punt.
The Texans used their running game with Derrick Ward (11 carries, 39 yards, 1 TD) and Ben Tate (24 carries, 116 yards, 1 TD) to move the ball down the field. Houston moved the ball 73-yards on 13 plays to end with a field-goal from Neil Rackers that gave them a 3-0 lead. Rackers came on to kick a 25-yard field-goal.
On the ensuing drive Collins was sacked by Antonio Smith who forced him to fumble the ball, and the Texans Shaun Cody recovered it to give them good field position. With the ball on the Colts five-yard line Tate made a 4-yard run and Ward came in to cap it off with a one-yard run that made it a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter.
On the next drive Collins was hit again and forced to fumble the ball, but this time it was by J.J. Watt. With good field position again after the turnover, the Texans had Tate take it in on a two-yard run that made it a 17-0 lead. The Colts struggled still with their offense and their defense was just put in poor situations.
The Colts punted the ball away on their next possession, and the Texans moved the ball 89 yards in 10 plays to score again. Schaub moved the ball with his arm as Tate worked the drive with his legs. Schaub finished the drive by hitting Andre Johnson (7 receptions, 95 yards, 1 TD) on a four-yard pass for a touchdown. With that score the Texans took a 24-0 lead and the game looked to be getting out of hand.
Indianapolis continued to have trouble moving the ball as on their next drive they went three and out. They did not move the ball at all during this drive, in fact they actually lost two-yards before they punted the ball away.
The Texans moved the ball on their drive with 5:25 left in the half, and were able to kick a field-goal. Tate and Ward got the ball moving for the Texans on this drive as they went 51-yards before Rackers came on and made a 29-yard field-goal.
With 1:34 left in the half the Colts went three and out and had to punt the ball away again. Pat McAfee punted the ball 46-yards with a hangtime of 5.0 seconds. Jacoby Jones took the punt and returned it 79-yards for a touchdown that made it a 34-0 lead going into halftime.
The Colts started the second half with the ball and still could not move the ball into scoring range. They moved the ball 41-yards on this drive, but ended up punting the ball away back to the Texans. Houston could not move the ball either on their opening drive and punted the ball back to the Colts after six plays.
The Houston defense kept the pressure on the Colts defense as they forced them to punt the ball away again. The Texans moved the ball on their drive 71-yards, but Schaub threw another interception. Gary Brackett picked off this pass and returned it 27-yards for the Colts. The Colts moved the ball 54-yards on this drive and actually had a chance to score with Adam Vinatieri coming on to kick a field-goal. Vinatieri attempted a 37-yard field-goal that went wide right leaving the Colts still scoreless.
On the ensuing drive Tate fumbled the ball and Pat Angerer recovered the ball for the Colts. Collins and the Colts took advantage of the short field and scored their first touchdown without Manning in the line-up. Collins hit Reggie Wayne (7 receptions, 106 yards, 1 TD) on a six-yard pass that made it a 34-7 game.
Texans went three and out on their next drive as they ran three straight run plays before punting. On the Colts drive, Collins was forced to fumble again when he was sacked by Mario Williams, but Jeff Saturday recovered it for the Colts. They then went for it on fourth down, but came up short and the Texans took over. Tate ran the ball for the Texans four times before Schaub took three kneels to end it with a Texans victory.
The Indianapolis Colts will face the Cleveland Browns for their first home game of the season. The Texans will take on the Miami Dolphins when they make their way to Miami next Sunday.
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