Quick name an NFL quarterback who has:
- Fended off Chad Brown’s pass rush to toss a TD with Rod Woodson in the secondary
- Victoriously stared down a front seven featuring the likes of Aaron Smith, Kevin Henry, Earl Holmes, Kimo von Oelhoffen, Joey Porter, Levon Kirkland, and Jason Gildon
- Schooled a number 1 defense headlined by playes like James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and Troy Polamalu
- Given scare to a similar version of that defense, reinforced by presence of players like Lawrence Timmons and Ziggy Hood
That quarterback is of course none other than Kerry Collins.
The Pittsburgh Steelers seek their fist road win tonight against the Peyton Manningless Indianapolis Colts.
Observers near and far have argued that no NFL franchise has seen its fortunes revolve around one player more than the Colt’s have revolved around Manning. Joe Bendel of the Steelers Digest went as far as to claim that taking Manning from the Colts is akin to taking Bruce Springsteen from the E-Street Band.
Thus far the Colts 0-2 lack luster start lends credibility to those dire predictions.
A friend, who is not a Steelers fan, even observed that, “Collins suddenly looks very old.”
There’s a fine line between “old,” and “seasoned pro.” Collins has only had a limited amount of time to learn the Colts offense, get to know his receivers, and feel comfortable in their system.
The process figured to take awhile, and the bitter taste of two defeats added to the adrenaline of playing in prime time at home can serve to speed up the learning curve.
And it is not as if Kerry Collins is any stranger to the Steelers. He’s played the many times before. In 1996 it was with the Carolina Panthers. In 2000 it was with the NFC Champions New York Giants. In 2008, 2009, and 2010 it was with the Tennessee Titans.
Collins record as a starter in those games is 3-1. In both the season opening loss in 2009 and the second game of the 2010 season where Collins came off the bench he pressed the Steelers to the wire.
Is then, Kerry Collins the key to the Steelers-Colts game?
In a manner of speaking yes.
By himself, Collins cannot beat the Steelers. But the Steelers will lose if they allow Collins to get into any kind of rhythm. Unlike his predecessor, Collins is a game managing quarterback as opposed to a franchise quarterback.
If Peyton Manning has been the field general that led the Colts from the front lines, then this field general has had some very talented foot soldiers standing behind him.
Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Dwight Freeney cannot beat the Steelers on their own. They need something from Collins. Against the Steelers Colllins has completed a composite total of 64% of his passes, and has thrown for six touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Collins history suggests that he can give them that “something.”
The Steelers need not walk into this game “fearing” Collins the way they would a Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers. But they had give him the respect he deserves.
If they Steelers can contain Collins on defense and keep Ben Roethlisberger upright on offense then they should conclude the night with their first road win under their belts.
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