Colts Lose to Houston Texans, 34-24, in 2010 Regular-Season Opener
As Peyton Manning saw it, the factors were many.
Manning, in his 13th season as the Colts' starting quarterback, on Sunday threw more passes than he ever has thrown in an NFL game, and after a double-digit loss in the 2010 regular-season opener to an AFC South rival, he said the reasons for a difficult day were many and varied.
But overall, Manning said the reality is this.
Improvement is necessary. And soon.
Arian Foster, the Houston Texans' second-year running back, set a franchise record with 231 yards rushing and also rushed for three touchdowns as the Texans pulled away in the second half for a 34-24 victory over the Colts in front of 70,974 Sunday afternoon in the 2010 regular-season opener at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
"Overall, we just didn't make enough plays in any phase of our game plan – offense, defense and special teams," Manning told Colts Radio afterward. "Houston made more plays, and therefore, they won. It's hard to give a lot of answers until we see the film. It's certainly very disappointing. We wanted to get the season started off on the right foot. We didn't do that today. We put ourselves in a hole a little bit. We've been here before. . . .
"Obviously, we just didn't play well enough today to win. That's really the bottom line."
The Colts, who had rallied from 17-point deficits to win in their last two games in Houston, rallied from an early 13-point deficit to pull to within three points at halftime, but the Texans controlled momentum throughout the second half with a strong running performance.
Foster rushed for 191 yards in the second half.
"We were managing things pretty well (in the first half)," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell told Colts Radio. "We didn't have it all solved. We had some issues that we had to get straightened away and in the second half, they came out and really controlled the line of scrimmage."
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, after leading the NFL in passing yardage last season, completed 9 of 17 passes for 107 yards in the game. He threw just five passes in a second half in which Houston held possession 18:48 to 11:12 for Indianapolis.
"They just kept pounding, kept pounding us until we broke," Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden told Colts Radio. "Hats off to them. They schemed well and did their job. Well done. They executed their game plan. They were trying to keep our offense off the field. They continued to run the ball.
"They did what they planned out to do and we didn't."
Manning completed 40 of a career-high 57 passes for 433 yards and three touchdown passes, and his 14-yard touchdown pass to four-time Pro Bowl selection Reggie Wayne helped the Colts rally in the second quarter. Tight end Dallas Clark caught 11 passes for 80 yards and a second-half touchdown, and second-year wide receiver Austin Collie caught 10 passes for a game-high 131 yards and a 73-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
"We made some mistakes we normally don't make," Clark said. "They're things that are correctable, so that's a positive. It's definitely a hard way to start the year, that's for sure."
The Texans led the Colts 6-0 early, with Indianapolis twice holding Houston to field goals after the Texans drove into Colts territory.
First, Texans kicker Neil Rackers – acquired as a free agent this past off-season – capped a nine-play, 19-yard drive with a 30-yard field goal to give Houston a 3-0 lead. Rackers then converted a 49-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead, finishing a possession that covered 53 yards and was keyed by an interference penalty against Hayden.
"We just didn't get it done today," Hayden said.
The Texans took a 13-0 lead with 13:01 remaining in the first quarter when Schaub threw 22 yards to wide receiver Kevin Walter. That play capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 3:44.
The Colts, who trailed the Texans by 17 points in the fourth quarter in 2008 and by the same margin in the first half last season before rallying to win in each game, cut quickly into the lead, doing so by the end of the second quarter.
Shortly after safety Melvin Bullitt – playing in place of Bob Sanders, who left early in the game with what the Colts announced as an elbow injury – intercepted Schaub and returned it to Houston 35, Manning drove the Colts to the Texans 14.
From there, he passed 14 yards to Wayne for a touchdown to cut the Texans' lead to 13-7.
Indianapolis, which punted on its first four series, drove deep into Texans territory late in the first half, with kicker Adam Vinatieri capping an 11-play, 63-yard drive with a 20-yard field goal.
The Texans regained momentum with a time-consuming drive to start the second half.
Foster capped a 15-play, 66-yard drive on the Texans' opening series of the second half with a 1-yard run. And after Indianapolis didn't score in the quarter, the Colts had a chance to cut into the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Collie fumbled deep in Texans territory after a 32-yard gain.
Cornerback Glover Quinn recovered at the Texans nine, and Houston moved 91 yards in four plays, with Foster's 25-yard touchdown run pushing the Texans' lead to 27-10 with 8:41 remaining. Foster rushed for 78 yards on three carries on the drive.
"People are going to point to a certain play here or there," Manning said. "For me, it's a 60-minute game and a 60-minute loss. I don't think the offense picked up the defense. The defense didn't pick up special teams. The special teams didn't pick up the offense. We just didn't do enough as a group to help each other out.
"That's something we've done in the past. That's something we're going to need to do starting next week. I think we'll learn from it and I think we'll improve from it."
The Colts cut into the lead with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Clark with 4:52 remaining, but after Houston recovered an onside kick, the Texans consumed 2:56. Foster's eight-yard run with 1:56 remaining clinched the Texans' victory.
Manning threw 73 yards to Collie for a quick touchdown on the ensuing series, but the Texans recovered an onside kick and Schaub knelt twice to end the game. With the Titans winning, the Colts enter Week 2 a game behind in the AFC South, and the two other teams in the South – Jacksonville and Tennessee – also won Sunday afternoon.
"Obviously, it's more of a marathon than a sprint," Caldwell said. "The big thing we have to do is really take a look at the film, analyze it and take a look at where we had some difficulty getting them stopped and get those things corrected and move on, because it doesn't get any easier."
Said Colts safety Antoine Bethea, "It's a bitter taste, but then again, it's only one game. We have 15 more games. We're going to correct it. We'll come back.
"We'll fight. We'll correct it. We'll give it our best shot next week."
The Colts play host to the New York Giants Sunday.
"We have a really tough game next week," Manning said. "We need to learn from it (Sunday's game)."