Colts look awful without Peyton

The Indianapolis Colts played their first game since they learned they would be without Peyton...

The Indianapolis Colts played their first game since they learned they would be without Peyton Manning for at least two months. (REUTERS/M.J. Masotti Jr./Files)

Mike Ganter, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:34 PM ET

TORONTO - If the Indianapolis Colts were concerned about the impact the loss of Peyton Manning would have on them coming into the year, they are downright petrified one game in.

The Colts were not even competitive against the Houston Texans in their first game since they learned they would be without Manning for at least two months.

Kerry Collins, his replacement (and not a cheap one either at $14 million US over two years) put his team in an early hole with two fumbles and the Colts never came close to climbing their way out of it eventually losing 34-7.

Predictably, the Colts were quick to point out that one man does not a football team make. We beg to differ in this case.

When that one man is a guy named Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and plays the position of quarterback, he does make your team whether you want to admit it or not.

This was Colts owner Jim Irsay in the aftermath of Sunday’s 34-7 drubbing at the hands of the Houston Texans as he tried to defend Collins.

“It’s hard to really say if Peyton (Manning) was out there and was completely healthy what level we would have played at,” Irsay said. “Obviously it would have made a difference. With Kerry, he’s a guy where you hope he can get better and that we can get better and sturdy up some things. It’s not a cliché, you always look worse than it really is and you’re never as good as you think it is.”

In fact it is a cliché to say it’s never as bad as it looks.

It’s something people tell themselves to give themselves hope for the future when things are at their bleakest.

And Irsay can kid himself all he wants, but it’s very bleak right now in Indy.

Not only was Collins a major factor in the Colts not being able to stay with Houston, the guys around him outside of perhaps Reggie Wayne are looking very much like guys praying desperately that their saviour Manning somehow returns.

Wayne had the lone touchdown scored by the Colts while hauling in seven passes for 106 yards.

Watching the Colts Sunday you wonder if perhaps Manning was the only reason the Colts were still contenders.

Running back Joseph Addai, who didn’t get much of a chance to be a difference maker with the Colts down 17-0 after a quarter and 34-0 after two, missed half of last season and has not been a major factor in two years. In 2009 he had 13 touchdowns.

The rest of the receiving corps was pretty much a non-factor yesterday with Dwight Clark’s four catches for 39 yards the best of a bad lot.

Were the Texans operating at full strength, the loss might not seem as bad but with the league’s leading rusher of a year ago, Arian Foster, sitting out, this wasn’t close to the best team the Texans could field.

Derrick Ward and Ben Tate filled in admirably but it appeared Manning’s absence even had an impact on the Colts defence.

If that trend continues, the season is going to be a very long one in Indianapolis ... unless of course Manning makes an earlier than expected return.

SOME WEEK ONE HURTS

It wasn’t a flawless day for the Texans despite the big win against a division rival. The Texans, according to reports, have lost wide receiver Kevin Walter for up to 12 weeks with a broken shoulder. Walter is the No. 2 receiver in the Houston offence behind Andre Johnson ... For the San Diego Chargers it was the knee injuries that jumped up and bit them on Sunday. First kicker Nate Keading had to be carted off the field following he opening kickoff with what certainly looked like a knee injury. In the fourth quarter as the Chargers were making their comeback, the team lost defensive lineman Luis Castillo to another knee injury. Neither player returned to the game.


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