And with that, the regular season is over. The Indianapolis Colts are headed to the playoffs again, and swept the dismal AFC South for a second consecutive year.
A quick note on how bad the division has been in recent years. Including this coming draft, a team from the division has held either the first or second overall pick each of the last four years. Yikes.
Sunday was a good win for the Colts, and frankly, it was a lot better to watch than I expected. I thought the game had Pre-Season 2.0 written all over it, but it didn't turn out that way, which was nice.
The Colts are headed for the playoffs and the Tennessee Titans are headed for the second overall pick. Time to hand out some awards from their battle on Sunday.
MVP - Andrew Luck
It's tough to give out an MVP when most players only saw half of the game. Luck is deserving of this one though. In one half he threw for 160 yards on only 10 completions, and had two touchdown passes.
And for the first time in weeks, there weren't any dumb plays from Luck. Yes, he fumbled, but I attribute that more Luck's own lineman falling on top of him.
More importantly, Luck tossed his 40th touchdown of the season and broke the Colts single season passing record, formerly held by some guy named Peyton Manning.
In my opinion, the Luck we saw on Sunday is the Luck we need to see when the playoffs start next weekend.
Defensive MVP - Jonathan Newsome
This kid was everywhere on Sunday. Six tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble is a great day at the office. Newsome was also very disruptive simply by bringing pressure around the edge.
The announcers (more on them later) called Newsome's name a lot and rightly so. The rookie had a great game, and actually ended up second in the league for sacks by a rookie. Impressive.
Close Only Counts in Horseshoes Award - Adam Vinatieri
First of all, the horseshoe pun is not intended here.
Vinatieri came oh so close to a perfect kicking season, but missed a kick from a little over 40 yards out, ending his streak.
All season I had been saying that he would miss one eventually, and I was just praying it wouldn't be in a meaningful situation. Vinatieri did miss one, and it was far from meaningful, so I'm ok with it.
Would it have been fun to see Vinatieri have a perfect season? Yes. Would it have been fun for him to channel his inner Gary Anderson in a playoff game? No.
Bonehead Award - Josh Cribbs
Again, Cribbs showed he can be a dynamic return guy by almost taking a kick to the house. He also showed some questionable judgment.
Not once, but twice, Cribbs let a punt bounce, then trickle a good 15 yards down the field. The Colts were very lucky one was a bad punt, and the other rolled into the endzone.
Normally it's Cribbs trying to field kicks he shouldn't. Yesterday, he was letting go kicks he shouldn't.
Hero Award - Reggie Wayne
Obviously. In what could very well have been his final regular season game, Wayne gave us a highlight reel play.
A gorgeous catch, a balance down the sideline, and the longest play of his career all happened on one great play. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Wayne had some wheels and made it to the end zone, but I won't complain.
Yes, he got hurt on the play with, what the announcers called, a "groin twinge." In my arm chair QBs opinion (and observation of Wayne after the play) it appeared Wayne took a shot to his man parts when getting tackled. So, "twinge" may be the right word. I'm also saying that I, like many others, believe he is perfectly fine.
Hopefully, the Colts can take Wayne to another Super Bowl before this campaign is over.
Obvious Audible Award - Matt Hasselbeck
In the third quarter Hasselbeck was in the shotgun and audibled a play shouting "McAfee." That was quickly followed by "Cowboys formation." Right away I said that he would throw a quick lob down the sideline.
Sure enough, that's what happened. The play even ended in a drop from a somewhat catchable ball. Sure, it was the Titans defender who dropped the interception, but all in all, it worked out about the same.
I can't imagine the Colts would audible to this play again, if I can figure out an audible based on two words, I would think an NFL defense can.
Tightrope Award - Sergio Brown
I just wanted to give some love to Brown here for downing one of McAfee's punts on the one inch line.
The hustle and balance from Bown was simply fantastic from Brown. He has played alright as a safety, but remains one of the best special teams players in the entire league.
LVP - The Announcers
Oh it's been awhile since the Colts had announcers this bad for a game.
I, and I'm sure many of you, knew it would be a long day when they called Shonn Greene short on a third and one. Of course, while they were saying this, the refs were signaling first down and the chains were on the move. Probably because Greene was clearly past the first down marker.
They also commented that Trent Richardson and Daniel Herron must be switching off series. Considering Herron played a majority of the first quarter, clearly this wasn't the case.
My favorite moment came when they were listing the QBs the Colts were "gashed" by. Somehow, they included Eli Manning on that list. I don't think Eli Manning has ever gashed the Colts defense.
Fortunately, its playoff time, and the pair of Tom McCarthy and Adam Archuleta will be watching all of the games the same way you and I are.
But now, its playoff time, and the Colts host the Bengals to kick off Sunday's slate of games. At that point, the Colts will know if they would head to Denver or New England with a win.