If you had watched the first two possessions for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, and hadn't seen the rest of the game, you would have been shocked by the final score. After an inauspicious start, the offense stole the show on Sunday afternoon.
Despite getting gashed by Colt McCoy, the defense did play fairly well, especially in preventing the Washington Redskins from scoring points off turnovers.
Nevertheless, it was a day for the offense. Now, time to hand out some hardware.
MVP - Andrew Luck
Was there any doubt? Luck was brilliant on Sunday. After a strip sack on the first play of the game (made possible from the horrible blocking of Gosder Cherilus), and a tipped interception on the next series, Luck was lights out.
In total, Luck threw for 370 yards and five touchdowns. He also added four runs for 20 yards as well. It was the 10th 300 yard passing game of the season, which broke Peyton Manning's team record. It was a career high for touchdown passes in a game. Luck also became the third Colt, after John Unitas and Manning, to throw 30+ touchdowns in a season.
Maybe more spectacular were the big plays Luck had. His touchdown passes went from 30, 48, 73, 79, and 3 yards. Although the three-yard score should have been a longer one (more on that later).
All in all, Luck and the offense stole the show on the afternoon.
Defensive MVP - Erik Walden
For weeks (when he has been healthy) I've given Walden a mention for this award, but never actually handed it out to him. That changes today.
It seemed, to me at least, that the Colts, and specifically Greg Manusky, has learned to use Walden as a pass rusher. We know Walden is iffy, at best, in defending the run (specifically the option), but he's turned out to be a darn good pass rusher.
He had two sacks on the day, and none bigger than the strip sack of McCoy in the third quarter. While the teams traded scores after this point, this one really put the game away. Walden came unblocked off the blind-side to sack McCoy. And while he didn't need too much talent to run at McCoy unblocked, it was still a great play.
Walden's other sack, if I remember correctly, came on a regular four man rush. The Colts picked up a few sacks doing that yesterday, which was good to see. Additionally, Walden was pressuring McCoy quite a bit, and should have had another sack if he (and two other Colts) could have actually tackled McCoy for the sack.
Glad to See You Award - Donte Moncrief
The first thing I noticed when I turned the game on was that Moncrief was in the huddle with the starters along with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. I was very excited to see Moncrief in there, which means he finally passed Hakeem Nicks on the depth chart.
Moncrief didn't catch a pass in the entire first half, though. However, in the second half, Luck was able to find Moncrief deep. On both of his scores, Moncrief basically just outran the entire Redskins defense. We got a glimpse of what Moncrief can do if the Colts unleash him (and what happens when there is horrible coverage), and hopefully we'll see more of this in the coming weeks.
So Close Award - Daniel ‘Boom' Herron
The Colts haven't had a 100 yard rusher since Vick Ballard did it against the Texans two years ago. I was really hoping Herron would pull it off on Sunday. He finished with 88 yards on eight attempts. Yes, that is an 11 yard per carry average. And yes, that was bolstered by the 49 yard score he had. Even if you take that run away, though Herron was averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
I thought they should have given him the ball a bit more than eight times, and Herron could easily have gone over 100. But with the way the passing game was clicking, I understand the decision. Also, the fact that Herron has now fumbled twice in two games is a bit of a cause for concern.
Still, after yesterday, I see no reason when Trent Richardson (eight carries for 12 yards on Sunday) should play unless Herron gets tired.
Darrius Heyward-Bey Award - Coby Fleener
Twice Coby Fleener got open (wide open) deep against the Redskins. Twice he looked like a bumbling fool when the ball came his way. Only once did he catch the ball.
The first time, Fleener got turned around and looked like he basically tripped his way into the endzone, and nearly out of bounds. The second time, Fleener straight up dropped the pass with no one within 15 yards (at least) of him. If that play isn't on the C'Mon Man tonight on Monday Night Football, I'll be slightly disappointed.
Still, I loved that Luck went back to him on the next two plays after the drop. Then, in the second half, Fleener had a Gronkowski-esque (over exaggeration?) catch and run for a touchdown. That almost made up for dropping a pass I think all of us could catch.
Cause for Concern Award - Covering Tight Ends
For whatever reason, this Colts defense cannot cover tight ends. At all. It seems like any team with a competent tight end knows to throw to them against the Colts.
Jordan Reed hauled in nine catches for 123 yards against the Colts defense. Yikes. The Colts linebackers are too slow to cover these guys, and there really isn't any talent at corner after Darrius Butler, Greg Toler (who also had a great game), and Vontae Davis.
Unfortunately, the Colts probably have one of the few safeties in the league with the physical ability to match-up with these tight ends in LaRon Landry. However, it is my opinion that Landry doesn't have the football talent to actually be able to do this. Still, this could be a cause for concern as the playoffs loom.
LVP - Passing Defense
Yes, this is for both squads. The Redskins were burned four times on deep passes, twice to Fleener and twice to Moncrief. The Colts only scored on three of those, but Fleener still ripped off a 73 yard catch separately. Hilton found plenty of openings in the Redskins secondary as well.
The Colts threw all over the Redskins to the tune of 370 yards and five scores.
Conversely, the Colts passing defense played poorly as well. McCoy threw for 390 yards, three scores, and no interceptions. Those are very good numbers for someone who is, at best, an average QB. And yes, the Redskins were playing from behind most of the way, but they did get the deficit down to four points in the third quarter.
The Redskins had many receivers running open through the game, and proceeded to take advantage of Davis' injury by throwing deep on Josh Gordy late in the game.
It ended up being one of many Sunday blowouts, though, and it went in favor of the Colts. Now it's on to Cleveland where the Colts haven't played since 2008 where they came away with a less than thrilling 10-6 victory. It's also extremely likely (I think) that we will see Johnny Manziel make his first start for the Browns.
Keep in mind that the Browns drafted Manziel with the pick they got from the Colts for Richardson. It should be fun!