Well, that was fun.
In a game most everyone didn't give the Colts a shot to win, they did just that. Not only did the Colts win, they toppled one of the remaining undefeated teams in the NFL.
It was also the second time in three years that the Colts derailed Denver's perfect season in Indianapolis. In 2013, Denver came into Indy at 6-0, only to leave with their first loss of the season.
The Colts, and some in the media, are already heralding this as a "season changing win." I'll hold off on saying that for now. It was a very good performance, to be sure, but the Colts will need to show they can stack wins and continue to beat teams outside of the division.
But enough rambling, time for some awards!
MVP - Andrew Luck
Honestly, no Colts player really stood out to me, in what amounted to a great team win. If I had to pick an MVP though (which I do for the sake of this article) it would be Luck.
For the second time this season, Luck didn't turn the ball over (the other was against New England) and we saw more of what we expected from the quarterback. He was decisive, didn't hold the ball too long (for the most part), and took off running when he needed to. Luck has said all year that he needed to be better, and last night he finally was.
While the new playcalling certainly helped, Luck didn't throw too many head scratchers which helped even more. With a much needed Bye coming up, hopefully Luck can continue to both get healthy and continue working on returning to his old self. If he does, the Colts could actually become a dangerous team this year.
Déjà vu Award - Luck vs the Broncos
Staying on the topic of Luck, the quarterback is now 3-1 when facing Peyton Manning's Broncos. Last time Denver came to Indy, they came away with their first loss of the season, and that happened again last night.
What struck me was how similar Luck's numbers were both times he has played at home against Denver.
In 2013, Luck was 21-38 with 228 yards and three touchdowns. He also had four carries for 29 yards and a score. Last night, Luck was 21-36 for 252 yards and two scores. He added six carries for 34 yards as well.
Strikingly similar numbers.
Brick Wall Award - O-Line
I'll give credit to the boys in the trenches this week. It still isn't a great unit, but the Offensive Line was very, very good yesterday.
Against the vaunted Denver pass rush, Luck was only sacked once. Yes, he was hit many, many times, but to only give up one sack against this defense is darn impressive. The Colts also tallied over 100 yards on the ground.
While the unit has been, and somewhat still is, in flux all season, the line has improved as the season continues.
Bad Trend Award - Andre Johnson
Like Donnie Avery, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Hakeem Nicks before him, I think we can finally call the signing of Johnson a complete bust.
The signing of Johnson was lauded as a great decision in the off-season, and it certainly looked like a great move. It just hasn't worked, though. Johnson has been invisible for most of the season, and that continued against the Broncos.
Johnson had one pass thrown his way (a beauty from Luck) only to have it hit him square in the hands before falling to the turf. This isn't the receiver who had his way with almost any corner on any defense, despite poor quarterback play in Houston. No, this is a receiver who is simply done.
I read somewhere that if Johnson was an undrafted, or lower profile player (essentially if he wasn't Andre Johnson) he wouldn't be seeing the field at all, if he was still on the team.
It's very likely that Johnson is currently the fourth best receiver on the team, and once Phillip Dorsett returns, it's my opinion that Johnson becomes the fifth best receiver.
Clutch Award - Griff Whalen
Speaking of receivers, how about The Griffer!?
Last week, Luck went to Whalen when he needed a fourth and 10 conversion to keep the game alive. This week, when Luck needed yards in crunch time, he looked toward the former Stanford receiver.
After arguably the two worst games of his career (New England and New Orleans) the Colts have moved Whalen from special teamer to receiver in place of the injured Dorsett. It has worked out great.
While Whalen may not be a fast, big, or quick receiver, the kid can run routes and can catch. It also doesn't hurt that Luck seems to be completely comfortable throwing to Whalen, and that is probably the biggest reason Whalen is still on the team.
Really, though, it isn't hard to argue that, at this point in time, Whalen is easily the third best receiver on this team. And it isn't even close.
Three Stooges Award - Aqib Talib
LVP - Injuries
While the Colts won the game, it came at a price.
Henry Anderson was lost for the season with a torn ACL, and that's a huge blow to the defense. Anderson was playing lights out, and really was in the conversation (or at least should have been) for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Mike Adams was also injured, although reports say that he is fine. Still, seeing him go down with almost no contact was scary. Almost any time that happens, it is a bad injury. Fortunately, it looks like the Colts dodged a bullet there. Still, ankle injuries can nag, so hopefully Adams will recover back to 100% during the bye.
And in general, the Bye comes at a good time for the banged up Colts. It gets Dorsett one week closer to seeing the field, Luck gets a week to not get hit by defenders, and T.Y. Hilton will get some rest as well (just to name a few). The Colts aren't a deep team, and can ill afford injuries at any position.
The Colts were able to topple Denver and Peyton Manning yet again. They also held Manning three yards short of the All-time Passing Record, and four points short of the All-time Wins record. From a storyline perspective, it would have been neat to see Manning get these records playing against the Colts. But I'm sure glad he didn't.
The Colts head into the Bye this week, which will probably make for a slightly more boring Sunday. They'll return to action in two weeks when they head to Atlanta to take on the slumping Falcons.