HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 11: Melvin Bullitt #33 of the indianapolis Colts celebrates with Jerraud Powers #25 and Jamaal Anderson #90 after making an interception in the first quarter against the Houston Texans during the season-opening game at Reliant Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Game 1 was a nightmare. Every one of our worst fears came true as we watched rival - the rivalry means more to them than us - Houston Texans obliterate us. An already jittery fan base went into all out panic mode. You could see it on the blog as the tanking the season, #suckforluck and rebuilding mode mantras became common themes.
Hold your horses Colts fans. We aren't over just yet. At least not after week 1. As ugly as the game was, it was just 1 game; 2 quarters really. We lost the same game to the same team last year and we still won the division. Didn't the Texans finish 6-10?
Going into this game did you really expect much different?
Since 1998 the Colts have only known one quarterback (The Bears have tried 17). The offense was bound to be a bit rusty. It's not like Collins has had a full offseason's work to get acclimated. Hell, he hasn't had more than a few preseason snaps.
Miscommunications, poor timing our routes and botched snaps were bound to happen...and they did. It was ugly, but hopefully now those are out of our system. Plus we won the second half! Sure the Texans weren't trying as hard and the game was out of hand but you could see the difference. The offense looked that much more comfortable.
Moving beyond what has become an awful memory, we also have to remember who the Colts really are. Not having Manning behind center was a bit stunning (for everyone) and shocked the guys a bit. It threw off their focus, momentum and energy. It's undoubtedly a big loss.
But the Colts are winners. The team was the winningest franchise of the 2000's and say what you want about the impact of the loss of Manning, but Saturday, Clark, Wayne, Freeney, Brackett, Bethea, and others are winners too.
The guys above have totaled 19 Pro Bowl appearances and 11 First Team All Pro honors between them. That's not to mention Adam Automatic (2,2) , Robert Mathis (3 PBs) the emergence of Austin Collie and now Pat Angerer. Plus all the other guys who have played important roles.
Try and find 19 Pro Bowl selections and 11 First Team All Pro honors between six players (not including the QB because Manning would practically double those numbers by himself) on another team. It's not that easy. In fact having not done my research, I bet the list would be fewer than 4 or 5 teams.
The Colts are winners and they take a great deal of pride in keeping that tradition going. Sure, week 1 was sickening to watch. But did you notice Jeff Saturday fighting for the football at the bottom of the pile late in the 4th quarter? Or how about Reggie Wayne's breathtaking catch. He's still got it right? Those were both plays that showed a heart and pride that many other players and teams alike don't have.
The Colts (for the most part) are a disciplined group filled with guys with strong character. Remember when Reggie Wayne was mad at the Collins signing and stuck up for Curtis Painter. However misguided his faith in Painter may have been, that was good to see. It showed that the guys believe in each other (at least Wayne does) and have the confidence to get it done.
In the post game press conference, Kerry Collins made it clear that he wasn't giving up on the guys and he was going to fix the mistakes and turn his play around. That is again what you want to hear. The Colts are a veteran team with guys that with or without Manning are going down fighting.
This season won't be as easy as others, but quite frankly we as a fan base have been spoiled. We might not win a record 10 games for the 10th straight year but guess what? No other team has either. At least we aren't the Lions right? (although this year in particular that may not apply...what is this world coming to?)
Not winning 10 games doesn't mean that in a weak division, that the Colts can't still make the playoffs. (The Titans are terrible, the Jags not much better and the Texans are bound to implode).
And isn't still being around for the postseason the goal at the beginning of every year anyway? Sure we talk about Super Bowl or bust but in reality the every team works to make the playoffs, see what happens and then hope you get a little bit of luck along the way (no, I wasn't referring to Andrew Luck).
It might not be an easy or pretty season, but let's not give up on the Colts just yet. At least not after week 1.
Believe in Blue.