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Monday After Awards: Colts vs Bengals - Round 2

For the second time this season, the Monday After Awards gets to look at a decisive Colts win, at home, over the Bengals. While not quite as dominant as the first, this was pretty darn close. You know with a great game like this, I'll have plenty of positive awards to hand out.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One down and (hopefully) three to go.

The Indianapolis Colts took the first step in the playoffs after easily, for a second time, dispatching the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Next they will head to Denver to take on the number two seed Broncos.

But we'll have plenty of coverage for that game this week, let's hand out awards from yesterday's playoff win.

MVP - Andrew Luck

Was there any question? Luck was outstanding yesterday. Aside from the 376 yards and a touchdown (plus 18 yards rushing on two carries), the biggest number for Luck was zero interceptions.

I was waiting, and waiting to make a comment on Twitter that it wouldn't be a playoff game until Luck threw an interception. It never happened, and I couldn't have been happier.

He made smart plays, not too many dangerous passes, and plenty of check downs. That's exactly what the Colts need to do to have success moving forward in the playoffs.

Oh, and that touchdown pass was pretty nice too (understatement).

Defensive MVP - Greg Toler

I know, Jerrell Freeman should probably be the choice here. And he did have a great game.

I wanted to give some love to Toler, though. Normally, I find myself cursing his name at least one time per game. That didn't happen on Sunday.

Every time I noticed Toler, he was in good coverage and breaking up plenty of passes. I think he might have gotten beat once, but that's fine. The Colts will need Toler to play well down the line, since he will see more and more passes if teams continue to shy away from Vontae Davis.

Fountain of Youth Award - Adam Vinatieri

The old man was lights out again for the Colts. When the drives stalled, Vinatieri was there to give the Colts points.

I thought the biggest highlight was his 53 yard kick. Not only did it split the uprights, but it cleared the crossbar by a lot. The kick would have been easily good from 60.

We always talk about how lucky we are, as fans, to have gone from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck, but we need to remember how lucky we are to have Vinatieri as well.

It's About Time Award - Trent Richardson on the Bench

Before the game, I tweeted that maybe Sunday would be the day that Richardson finally lived up to the trade, but probably not.

Turns out, he wasn't close, but that was a good thing. Richardson saw the field for one play, and Daniel Herron and Zurlon Tipton saw all of the carries.

Richardson rode the bench for the bulk of the game, and the offense looked better than it has in a long, long, long time. Coincidence? Probably not. I know Richardson was sick, but I now see even less reason for him to be on the field in the playoffs.

His career postseason stat line? Four carries, one yard, and a fumble.

Emergence Award - Hakeem Nicks

It wasn't his best career game, but it was by far his best game as a Colt.

Three catches for 59 yards which included a fantastic 45 yard grab in which Nicks looked like the receiver we all hoped he would be. One of his catches was a nice catch and run on one of the (stupid) screens the Colts try to run.

I said it in the playoff preview, and I'll say it again here. If Nicks can get going, the Colts offense could be incredibly dangerous.

Rick Flair Award - Sergio Brown

Ok, that post game dance was pretty cool.

I really just wanted to highlight this, and say that if you haven't watched the video, do yourself a favor and do so.

What is it about these special teams guys who have all the dance moves this season?

Honorable Mentions

There were a lot of positives from this game, and I really can't give out awards to all of them. Here are a few honorable mentions that are worthy of awards, but just didn't get one this week.

The offensive line, the run defense, Herron, and Freeman.

LVP - Butterfingers

For whatever reason, this year's version of the Colts simply cannot hang onto the football.

T.Y. Hilton, despite a big statistical day, had a lot of drops. Four, by my count. Coby Fleener also let one slip through his hands.

And let's not gloss over Herron's two fumbles. Fumbles have been a concern for him this season, but these two didn't bother me that much.

The first one was horrible ball security, true. But if you watch the reply, it's clear that Darqueze Dennard went below the belt with his punch to the ball. Should Herron have held on still? Probably, but I didn't fault him as much after seeing the replay.

On the second fumble, Herron was, in my opinion, clearly down. Again, should he be holding onto the ball anyway? Yes. But had the Bengals recovered, it would have been reversed.

Regardless, though, holding onto the football has been a huge issue for the Colts all season.

But now the Colts are on to Denver. It's a rematch I've been hoping for since Week 1. Ever since that game I have been saying that the Colts could beat Denver if given another shot. Well, here we go. Hopefully, this won't be a case of "be careful what you wish for."