Ravens, Colts top early Sunday stories

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
5:29
PM ET
Two matchups highlighted the early afternoon action on the opening Sunday of the NFL season. There was a continuation of the rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, and the Indianapolis Colts, playing without Peyton Manning under center for the first time since 1997, taking on the Houston Texans.

Both games unexpectedly turned into blowouts: the Ravens beat the Steelers 35-7 and the Colts lost 34-7.

The Ravens ran for 170 yards against the defending AFC champions, the most by any team against Pittsburgh since 2009, and 22 more yards than Baltimore ran for against them in their three meetings combined last year.

The Steelers lost the turnover battle 7-0, their first seven-turnover game since September 1995 against the Vikings, a 44-22 loss.

Ravens safety Ed Reed had his hand in creating turnovers, picking off Ben Roethlisberger twice. It’s Reed’s 12th career multi-interception game -- the third-most in the NFL dating to 1960 behind Paul Krause’s and Johnny Robinson’s 16.

The Steelers face an unusual early deficit in the AFC North, as they had won their previous eight season openers, the fifth-longest streak in NFL history.

Kerry Collins
Collins
Meanwhile, in Houston, Kerry Collins was the Colts’ starting quarterback, becoming the first Colts starting quarterback other than Manning since Jim Harbaugh on December 21, 1997. Harbaugh made his NFL head coaching debut Sunday for the San Francisco 49ers.

While Manning has spent his entire career with the Colts, Indianapolis is the sixth team Collins has started for. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s one team shy of the NFL record, shared by Chris Chandler and Gus Frerotte.

The 27-point loss marks the biggest for Indianapolis since another 27-point loss in 2006 against the Jaguars. The Colts haven’t lost a game by more than 27 since dropping a 2002 Wild Card game to the New York Jets by 41.

Collins struggled when the Texans brought additional defensive backs onto the field. Against five or more defensive backs, Collins was just 9-for-21 and averaged 5.0 yards per pass attempt.

Against Houston’s base 3-4 defense, Collins was 7-for-10, averaging 9.1 yards per attempt with a touchdown.

The Colts went into halftime trailing 34-0, the largest halftime deficit in franchise history. In Manning’s 13 seasons at quarterback, the Colts had never trailed by more than 24 at halftime.

The Colts mustered just seven points in the loss. Over the last 10 regular seasons (160 games), the Colts were only held to seven or fewer points once. That was in Week 17 of the 2010 season, a 30-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. In that game, Peyton Manning played only three series.

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