There were many pressures on the peripheral on this unusual opening day.
First there was the pressure of starting an NFL game, compounded by the first that someone not wearing a number 18 since 1997.
But another number was staring Kerry Collins right in the eye on Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium. It was a much harsher reality than the 34-7 score he would see some three hours later.
"All those things I definetely allowed myself to feel today," said Collins of the various flags, signs and cermonies held in tribute to the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack on the United States.
Collins was front and center for the event while a member of the New York Giants, whose stadium parking lot was used as a relief center following the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Memories flooded back for the quarterback during a lengthy pre-game ceremony that included the honoring of local Houston police and firemen and women, a video narrated by Robert DeNiro, the playing of taps and the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" with a field-size American flag.
"I was very much involved with it and close to it when I was in New York so I definitely took the time to remember the fallen victims, the heroes, the bravery," said Collins. "The coming together, the spirit that was evident in New York around that time."
Reggie Wayne and Antoine Bethea took their honors a step further, wearing special red, white and blue cleats and gloves which were marked "9-11, Never Forget." Earlier this week the NFL allowed the players to wear the equipment without getting fined for a violation of the league's uniform policy.
"It was touching," said Wayne of the tribute. "It really made us want to go out there and play this game more than ever."
At Least They Won The Turnover Battle
On the electronic boards that wrap around the first deck of Reliant Stadium were a constant reminder of the doom and gloom of the Colts opening game of the season.
Thoughout the contest, they would rotate a series of statistical comparisons between the Colts and the Texans. The stats next to the logo with a bull were the ones ahead for most of the day-in every category except for one.
In the turnover department-a stat often regarded as the difference between winning and losing-the Colts actually beat the Texans 3-2. For a the defense, it was at least something to feel good about.
"We got three turnovers, we didn't do just a terrible job on them," said cornerback Jerraud Powers. "We definitely could have done a lot better in certain areas."
One of those could be rushing, where for a second year in a row the Texans found success on the ground. Houston gained 167 yards on the ground including 116 from Ben Tate while scoring two of their five touchdowns on the ground.
"Last year around this time we kinda got behind the "8 Ball" too," said defensive end Robert Mathis, referring to last year's opening loss to the Texans. "We'll bounce back."
After creating one of those turnovers, Brackett found himself on the sidelines for the rest of the game.
When Mike Brisiel of the Texans knocked the linebacker out of bounds, Brackett was down for a few minutes and was attended to by Colts training staff.
Brackett came off the field on his own power with a shoulder strain and is questionable for next week's game against theClevelandBrowns.
Stat(s) of the Week - 17, 34
The number of points scored by the Texans in the first quarter and half, respectively. Those were the most by the Houston franchise since their inception in 2002.