Texans rout Manning-less Colts, 34-7

Reggie Wayne gathered the Indianapolis offense on the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans on Sunday and shared a simple message.

"We're going to be all right," Wayne said he told his teammates.

It was a pep talk the Colts needed on a day when they were dominated by the Texans in a 34-7 loss with Peyton Manning out with a neck injury.

Matt Schaub threw for 220 yards and a touchdown, Ben Tate rushed for 116 yards and another score in relief of injured Arian Foster, and the Texans took advantage of the miscues of Manning's replacement, Kerry Collins, for the win.

Manning, the four-time MVP, didn't travel with the team to Houston as he recovers from his third neck surgery in the 19 months. His streak of 227 consecutive starts, including playoffs, ended.

Wayne remained optimistic despite the tough start and finished his fourth quarter speech, by telling the team "there's no reason to worry."

"We were in the same position last year and we still accomplished our goal and that's taking care of our division," Wayne said.

He kept referring to the Colts losing to the Texans 34-24 in Week 1 last season and still making the playoffs and insisted that this loss is no different.

"We'll never know if this would have been different if 18 (Manning) was here," Wayne said. "But the guys we have here now, we've got to deal with this. So for us, it feels like last year. We came out and we lost. We've just got to build off of this, which I think we will."

The 38-year-old Collins was lured out of retirement less than three weeks ago to take a crash course in the offense. Based on the opener, the Colts need to find another solution.

Collins fumbled on consecutive snaps that set up Texans touchdowns in the first quarter, and he was sacked three times. He didn't throw an interception, but the Colts mustered only 236 yards and 15 first downs against Houston's 3-4 defense guided by new coordinator Wade Phillips.

"It's so hard after a loss like that to think about how you did personally," Collins said. "Everybody had a hand in it in one way or another, but as quarterback of the team, regardless of how long I've been here, I need to take care of the ball better."

The Texans sprinted to a 34-0 halftime lead, even with 2010 NFL rushing leader Foster deactivated with a left hamstring injury. Foster ran for 231 yards in the opener against the Colts last year, but the Texans hardly missed him.

Tate, a 2010 second-round draft pick who sat out last season with a broken ankle, carried 24 times and Ward scored a touchdown before leaving late in the game with an ankle injury.

Indy, meanwhile, seemed overwhelmed on both sides from the start.

Mario Williams hinted what was coming when he sacked Collins for a 9-yard loss on Indy's fourth snap. Williams, Houston's sacks leader in each of the past five seasons, made his first start at outside linebacker, one of the big changes introduced by Phillips.

Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell didn't blame Collins for the lopsided defeat.

"It was tough out there," Caldwell said of Collins' first start for the Colts. "Obviously he had some pressure and some situations where protection broke down on him. He didn't perform as well as he is capable of because of that, but he made some nice throws. One guy or two guys can't do it all. It's a team game."

The Colts' defense was just as vulnerable, allowing 259 yards and 19 first downs in the first half.

Neil Rackers finished Houston's second series with a 25-yard field goal before the romp started in earnest.

Collins lost the ball when he was hit by defensive end Antonio Smith, and nose tackle Shaun Cody recovered at the Indy 12. Ward scored on a 1-yard run for a 10-0 lead.

Collins dropped the next snap from center Jeff Saturday, rookie defensive end J.J. Watt pounced on the loose ball, then Tate ran into the end zone with 1:41 left in the opening quarter.

"This wasn't the day obviously that we'd hoped for," Collins said. "We didn't help ourselves certainly by those two turnovers back to back and giving them a short field. I don't care what the situation is, we just can't do those things and expect to have a chance to be in the ball game."

The Texans couldn't feel comfortable just yet, recalling they'd blown 17-point leads to the Colts in Houston in 2008 and '09. Manning wasn't here to bail out Indy, though, and Houston poured it on.

Schaub found Andre Johnson open in the back of the end zone for a 24-0 lead. Johnson had seven catches for 95 yards in the game.

Indy failed to get a first down on its next possession, and the Texans turned to their backup running backs to drive downfield again. Tate broke a 14-yard run and Ward had an 8-yarder before Rackers kicked a 29-yard field goal.

Jacoby Jones fielded a punt with just over a minute left in the first half and outran the Colts down the sideline for a 79-yard touchdown. It was Jones' third punt return for a touchdown and his first since 2008.

Tate fumbled with about 10 minutes left in the game, and the Colts averted the shutout when Wayne caught a 6-yard TD pass from Collins.