WAYNE CATCHES 70TH CAREER TOUCHDOWN
Making his first start in a Colts uniform, quarterback Kerry Collins relied on a man who has played for no other team than Indianapolis during his 11-year tenure.
Reggie Wayne's seven catches for 106 yards and a touchdown led all Colts receivers in the opener at Houston. The outing marked Wayne's 36th regular season game with 100 receiving yards. The total ranks second in club history to Marvin Harrison (59).
Following linebacker Pat Angerer's recovered fumble in the fourth quarter, Collins found Wayne on a six-yard pass in the back of the end zone for the Colts' only touchdown on the afternoon.
Wayne did a masterful job of getting both feet down to complete the scoring play. The scoring play marked the fifth consecutive season-opener that Wayne has had a touchdown reception.
With offensive captain Peyton Manning sidelined with a neck injury, Wayne took the initiative to deliver a message to his teammates during the second half.
"It really came in the fourth quarter when Reggie (Wayne) pulled the whole offense together on the sideline," running back Joseph Addai said about what message to take from the Houston game. "He told us all that we got beat pretty bad today but it doesn't end here. We all have our heads up going forward."
COLTS WIN TURNOVER BATTLE
It did not take long for the Colts defense to produce the first of three takeaways on Sunday at Houston.
With the Texans receiving the opening kickoff, it took the Colts only two plays before they recorded their first takeaway of the 2011 season.
A Matt Schaub pass went off the out-stretched hands of wide receiver Andre Johnson and safety Melvin Bullitt made the interception off the tipped ball.
Bullitt returned the interception, the seventh of his career, 15 yards to the Colts 40-yard line.
The second interception of the day for the Colts came in their red zone early in the final quarter.
Facing a third-and-goal at the Indianapolis nine-yard line, Schaub was intercepted by middle linebacker Gray Brackett. Brackett returned the theft 27 yards to the Colts 37-yard line. The play set up an Indianapolis drive that reached the Houston 19 before a missed field goal.
The interception was the 12th career pick for Brackett, which places him fifth all-time on the Colts interceptions list for a linebacker.
The Colts' lone touchdown of the afternoon was set up by the third takeaway, this time coming via the fumble recovery by Angerer.
With Brackett having left the game with an injury, Angerer slid inside to the middle linebacker position and continued an impressive day that included a team-high 13 tackles to go along with the fumble recovery. On the play, Angerer recovered the fumble caused by defensive back Jacob Lacey at the Houston 23-yard line, and he returned the fumble 10 yards to spark the scoring drive.
The three takeaways is something the defense can build on as it prepares for the home opener with Cleveland next Sunday.
"We were in this same position last year," defensive end Robert Mathis said. "We are a veteran team. We know what to expect and we know how to bounce back from this. At halftime we made the proper corrections in the second half."
CARTER GETS FIRST TASTE OF NFL
When rookie running back Delone Carter was chosen by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, many thought his role would be a short-yardage back.
However, Carter showed that he could do much more than that by rushing seven times for 25 yards during extensive action on Sunday.
Carter's first NFL carry came on the opening play of the second quarter when the Syracuse product ripped off a seven-yard gain.
On the Colts' lone third-and-one attempt of the day, it was Carter who provided the conversion by running for a three-yard gain.
Throughout training camp and the preseason, Carter has worked diligently in learning the club's offense.
The rookie's success dates back to a strong end to his final season with Syracuse. Carter was named MVP of Syracuse's 36-34 Pinstripe Bowl win over Kansas State while rushing for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Playing in the East-West Shrine Bowl following the season, Carter received another MVP award leading all rushers with 54 yards.
The Colts averaged 4.0 yards per rush against Houston, gaining 64 yards on 16 attempts.