HOUSTON - A sell out of 71,444 at Reliant Stadium watched the Texans level the Colts 34-7 in the season opener for both teams on Sunday, Sept. 11.

But interestingly enough the focus of the contest wasn't so much on the players who were on the field. It was more about who wasn't playing: Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Texans running back Arian Foster.

Manning's streak of 227 straight starts came to an end as he recovers from his third neck surgery. Foster, on the other hand, is still nursing a hamstring he re-aggravated during Houston's pre-season game at San Francisco. The Texans didn't miss a beat against the Colts, though. Quarterback Matt Schaub put on a show with 220 yards and one touchdown, and Foster's back-up running back, Ben Tate, sparkled by racking up 116 yards to go along with one touchdown.

It wasn't a bad performance by the Texans' Andre Johnson either. Johnson passed Herman Moore (9,174) for 41st place on the all-time receiving yardage list with his first catch of the game. "Yeah, it's been a long process for me you know coming back from the ankle injury then you know the [training] camp having a lower hamstring injury. You know, everybody bashing me [assuming I wouldn't bounce back]," Tate said. "It's whatever you know. As a player you have to stay mentally strong and, you know, this injury is helping me stay mentally strong and deal with this adversity [I've been dealing with since training camp]." "Ben Tate [playing his] very first game in the NFL and he goes over 100 [yards].

He's probably thinking 'this is not too tough of a deal,' " said James Casey, who made his first start at fullback after playing at tight end his first two seasons. "Feels good [to get a win]. I think I had three catches so that's probably like, you know, almost a quarter of my entire career of what I had." "It was good to see how our defense responded," said Schaub. "Our defense went out there and had my back and held them and got the ball back to us. You know, you just have to move on, learn from it and move forward." "The key for us was, you know, how good's our defense? Have we stepped up enough? And I think we are [where we want to be right now]," said Texans owner Bob McNair.