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Sunday After Awards: Colts vs Bears

The Colts played their first home pre-season game last night against the Bears. As always with the pre-season, there was some good and some bad. Ben Lamers hands out some hardware in a Sunday edition of his awards.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Another pre-season game is in the books. And for a second straight week, the Colts, as a whole, looked...OK.

At one point, I tweeted out that it seemed like the Bears were dominating the game, and yet at that point the Colts were only down 9-8. It was another uneven performance, which of course means I have some good and some bad awards to hand out.

MVP - Erik Walden

It's always tough to hand out the MVP in a pre-season game, since most players only see less than a half of action. Still, Walden stood out in last night's game. Specifically, the Bears first series was stifled almost entirely by Walden.

The linebacker set the edge perfectly when the Bears tried a stretch play to Forte. He followed it up with a sack of Cutler. Yes, he only had 2.5 tackles and the sack, but Walden put plenty of pressure on Cutler in the pocket as well. If he can play this way with consistency during the regular season, it will be an absolutely massive boost to the defense.

Most Promising Award - Running and Stopping the Run

I'm going to lump the run offense and run defense into the same award here. First for the offense. We got our first look at Frank Gore last night, and it was about what we were all hoping for. Gore touched the ball twice, finishing with 10 yards. If he's anywhere close to 5 yards per carry this season, Colts fans everywhere will rejoice. Conversely, Trent Richardson ran for 5 yards on 5 carries last night for the Raiders. So there's that.

Not to be outdone, though, I thought Daniel ‘Boom' Herron had a nice game running the ball, even if the numbers don't necessarily reflect that. But again, the real star was Josh Robinson. He tallied 61 yards on 13 carries and looked good for the second straight week. I'd like to see him get some reps with the starting unit.

Conversely, the starting defense did a great job of bottling up Matt Forte. The Bears' running back finished with 24 yards on 8 carries. I'll take that almost any day of the week. The front seven did a great job of not letting Forte break through (he did once for 11 yards) and kept him close to the line. Yes, it's only pre-season, but that's promising.

A Bit Concerning Award - 4th Down Army

For a second week in a row the special teams units were sloppy. It all started with Pat McAfee's poor opening kick-off and didn't seem to get better. The tackling was again abysmal and the Bears first six points were almost direct results of poor special teams coverage.

While he is booming kicks, McAfee isn't necessarily playing well either. Last night he punted seven times, but saw the Bears start inside the 20. Yes, a lot of this has to do with McAfee punting from deep in his own territory. On some kicks, though, it seems like the big returns are due in part to McAfee out-kicking his coverage. But again, let's remember that it's only the pre-season and this isn't worth worrying about just yet.

Fireworks Award - Receivers - T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, and Andre Johnson

All three of the Colts speedsters had good showings last night and Johnson again showed his versatility and the problems he will present defenses.

It was common to see the Colts put Johnson in the slot with Hilton and Moncrief or Dorsett outside. Add in the fact that, during the season, the Colts will also have either Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen in at tight end, and Gore in the backfield and you see a lineup teams won't want to face. We saw Andrew Luck look deep to Hilton with success, and toss some deeper crossing routes to Johnson and Hilton (both of which were dropped).

Moncrief also had a nice grab after a rough pass from Matt Hasselbeck over by the sideline. Yes, he did get outplayed on a deep-ball from Hasselbeck a bit later. It was far from the best throw, though, which made it a tough play for Moncrief.

Fran Tarkenton Award - Andrew Luck and Jay Cutler

We saw some rather exciting scrambles from the two starting QBs. Luck did what he does best in the red zone and ran for a score after not finding anyone open.

Cutler, though, showed an ability to run as well. He finished with one run for 13 yards, but everyone will remember the run that didn't count. Cutler rolled to his right, tucked the ball, juked Darius Butler out of his shoes, and proceeded to truck through Greg Toler before stepping out at the one. Yes, the play was called back due to a penalty, but it was a great effort from Cutler.

Open Skies Award - Colts Secondary

The Colts passing defense was far from the "No Fly Zone" on Saturday. I'm not picking on Vontae Davis (who did get torched on a play that was called back) or Butler too much, since it was their first game back.

However, for the second game in a row the Colts saw an opponent throw with some ease against their secondary. When you allow Jimmy Clausen and Cutler to go a combined 14-19 for 123 yards and a score that's not good. Yes, Clausen tossed a pick, but that was much more a bad throw than anything else.

While most of this is coming by way of the backup players, it raises some concern on the vulnerability of the secondary if Davis, Toler, or Butler go down with any kind of injury this year.

LVP - Tackling

Yes, I'm giving out the same LVP again this week because it's a problem. The tackling, aside from the starting front seven, was terrible yet again this week. It was highlighted on most punt returns, as well as the Bears only kick return (31 yards). But let's not forget about all the missed tackles whenever Jeremy Langford touched the ball for the Bears. This is something that is really, really bad for the Colts right now, and needs to be fixed.

Honorable Mention LVP - The Offensive Line

For a second week we saw some flashes of greatness from the offense, and I can say that we are probably all tremendously excited to see that unit in action. The defense had some questions, but the run defense looked surprisingly good. We'll get a very good feel for what the starters can do next week in St. Louis.