NFL Week 1 Results: Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys Stand Parallel

Joye Pruitt@joyethewarSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2011

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts during game action against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Houston, Texas. The Texans won 34-7.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Peyton Manning was apparently nowhere near the building, as his presence may have momentarily caused a few ruptures in the bad judgment that was Kerry Collins’ start against the Houston Texans. As the only possible MVP candidate who may be nominated without the presence of any game log statistics, Mannings’s absence showed in more ways than one.

Not only was his team discombobulated and refused to recover from any offensive or defensive mishaps, they were obviously without a true leader. Whether operating at the team’s first, second or third string, one would assume Collins, with experience stemming back to his rookie years in 1995 after being drafted to the Carolina Panthers, would have enough stamina and leadership left in his specimen to make himself appear a tad bit more confident than a bumbling Kyle Orton, while fans screamed Tim Tebow’s name.

The Texans are not a prime downgrade in defense. Still, any quarterback worth his weight in gold, silver, bronze or aluminum would have been able to strike while the iron was lukewarm in the first, second or third quarters of Indy’s season opener. Manning may be out for the duration of the season and Collins’ performance gave the Colts no feasible hope to conquer the Houston Texans, the only team in the division giving any indication of improvement.

Sure, there are the Jacksonville Jaguars who succeeded in their first game against division competitor, the Tennessee Titans.

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Kerry Collins #5 hands the ball to running back Joseph Addai #29 of the Indianapolis Colts against the Houston Texans on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34 to 7.(Photo by Thomas B
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

But the Jaguars are not stomping fear into anyone’s hearts with Luke McCown leading the charge. Yes, a win is a win. However, I am pretty adamant in my belief that Jaguars fans may have felt an inch more comfortable with David Garrard at the starting quarterback position. Or even Top-10 NFL draft pick Blaine Gabbert, the benched rookie quarterback out of Missouri.

Once speculated as the most complete QB prospect in the draft, Gabbert has come second to a veteran who seems no better off than any rookie seen performing in their first official NFL start.

Jumping conferences, delving into the depths of the AFC East, I present to you the 0-1 Dallas Cowboys that fell to the NY Jets in one of the most emotional games of the 2011 NFL season. The passion striking the stadium during an incredible offensive start would lead any NFL fan to believe Tony Romo was on the fast track to the top of his division with Dez Bryant standing in the end zone awaiting one of the many touchdown passes Romo is speculated to hurl his main target throughout the season.

Then the amazing happened. Romo choked just as he did during the game against the Seattle Seahawks years ago when he fumbled a field goal. Dallas’ leading man has been living in the shadow of that experience ever since it happened and has yet to properly shift himself from beneath the torturous spotlight.

His game against the Jets did not do much to deter Cowboys’ non-believers from their initial belief of Romo’s lack of contingency throughout games. Of course, Romo did not lose the game on his own. A blocked punt returned for a touchdown was a small shake up, but the interception that Romo seemed to throw directly to NY Jets CB Darrelle Revis to eventually land New York in good field position for the game-winning field goal that Jets QB Mark Sanchez could not bring himself to watch.

Neither quarterback put on what any fan would name a clinic, but Sanchez came up at the right time capitalizing on a suffocating defense that bailed him out of any fumble or allowed sack the young player subjected himself to.  Romo came up on the short hand of the stick and is the butt of possibly every joke even becoming the aim of a trending topic on Twitter named, #QuarterbacksbetterthanRomo.

But, what do both of these teams have in common? It definitely cannot be their division or the rising status of their current starting quarterbacks. Oh, maybe I can put my finger on it.

Is it that neither team has a dependable quarterback leading their teams through the charge?

The Colts have Kerry Collins and no matter how many people want to put the “jitters” label or “pressure of the moment” sticker across his Week 1 performance, it was one of the most terrible displays by an experienced quarterback I have ever seen.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball against the New York Jets during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

Not only did Collins look like a virgin to the field, he seemed uncomfortable with the status of his own abilities and unsure of those around him as well. Can you truly blame him for being a bit shaken in the eyes of his new teammates? He is attempting to replace a future Hall of fame quarterback who has continuously kept the Colts relevant. But, I was expecting something a little more inspiring than 197 yards and a single, almost unmentionable touchdown that came in the fourth quarter.

The Cowboys are sitting alongside Tony Romo on the ride of their lives and no one is sure whether or not he is the long term answer for the franchise. Of course he began the game fast-paced and lively. A lot of people, even Cowboys fan LeBron James felt the squad had a great chance at a win. Then, the obvious took place.

Dallas experienced the worst choke performance in the history of the franchise and Romo sat in the pits of it all.

Or maybe the similarity lies in the fact that neither franchise is willing to publicly admit that their current quarterback situations need an overhaul or at least an ounce of work. Hell, at least admit that there is obviously something wrong. Expect for teams that have apparent issues on either side of the ball to shove them off to the side because it is Week 1. It is easy for mistakes to be swept under the carpet and contributed to the lack of training camps in the offseason.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning (L) and Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo b
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

However, that excuse will stand until the end of Week 3 and for the fans that scoff at the reasoning early on, you are on the right track.

Football functions on the ability to transition into uncomfortable situations at the slightest gesture from the breakdown of a play on the field to a trade behind closed doors. Sure, Collins only had about three weeks to learn Indy’s offense, but that is no reason for Jeff Saturday to take a ridiculous leap of faith and say that things would have been the same even if Peyton’s presence had been injected.

"Obviously, he's not here. But to be truthful, I don't think if Peyton was back there it would have been much better yesterday," Saturday said. "We didn't play well and we weren't efficient in our offense. We just didn't produce the way we need to, and we didn't get it done."

Major side eye for that one, Jeff. Not only was the morale down, but there were times when you could not even spot Collins on the sideline. His hat was so low you could barely see anything other than his chin full of ginger and pepper facial hair.  However, Saturday and his teammates are not the only ones in denial.

Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones admitted that his comments would cause a stir but said he was happy with Romo’s performance in his season opener against the NY Jets.

"This may draw a little criticism, but I thought Tony played one of the best games I've ever seen him play," Jones said during a Tuesday appearance on KRLD-FM, the team's flagship station. "You can make a big case that the way he played for three quarters was how we got there at the end and looked like for sure we were going to get the win. But he played outstanding."

Not only did he express his happiness with Romo, but he let everyone know who may have been concerned that the struggling QB was not going anywhere anytime soon.

"He's a winner," Jones said. "We are going to rise and fall based on what Tony Romo's about over the next several years, and I'm excited about that.”

Should we be more worried that Jerry Jones is content with ultimately losing a game Dallas was sure to win or that he thinks Romo is the winning type of guy to take the franchise to greener pastures?

Both the Indianapolis Colts and the Dallas Cowboys have some adjustments to make if they are considering strides towards the playoffs or even stroking the idea of a close call.


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