INDIANAPOLIS –Andrew Luck completed throws to nine different receivers. He passed 44 times with zero interceptions. He totaled 376 aerial yards with a touchdown.
Luck and the Colts used a meticulous passing attack, taking care of the football while adding occasional big plays to the mix, and put away the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The final score was 26-10, and the Colts are headed to Denver next Sunday for the divisional round of the playoffs.
Adam Vinatieri helped wrap up the triumph by making four field goals, including a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter. The defense did its part, holding the Bengals scoreless in the second half.
But it was Luck's play that stood out. Of his 31 completions, 10 went to running back Boom Herron for 85 yards. When Luck wanted bigger yardage, he targeted wideout T.Y. Hilton, who had six receptions for 103 yards.
"He was outstanding," Colts Coach Chuck Pagano said, referring specifically to Luck's decision-making. "He just took what they gave him. (The Bengals) wanted to defend, and they weren't going to let our game-wreckers get behind them. So there was a bunch of things underneath."
And when chunk plays did become available, Luck jumped on that opportunity. His TD pass went to Donte Moncrief on a 36-yard completion in the third quarter. Luck threw on the run, just before he went down in a heap. Moncrief easily hauled in the perfect toss.
"The one magical play to Moncrief was Andrew at his finest," Pagano said. "He's a maestro back there."
Luck lined up behind an offensive line wracked by injuries. It was the Colts' 11th different line combination of the season.
"He's unflappable that way," Pagano said about Luck. "It doesn't really matter, as long as we have five guys in front of him. He doesn't really care about the jersey numbers. He knows those guys are going to prepare and practice well, and they're going to go out there and give it their all."
"They did great," Luck said about his blockers, who allowed just one sack. "(They did) incredibly well, run blocking, pass blocking, handling the tempo, handling everything. It was fun to be out there with them."
The Colts rolled up 22 first downs and 482 total yards against the Bengals. Counting Indy's regular-season victory over Cincinnati (27-0), the Colts amassed 988 total yards in this season's two meetings with their I-74 rivals. The Indy defense held the Bengals to 254 yards Sunday and 138 earlier this season.
FIRST QUARTER (11:05 remaining)
The Colts took the opening kickoff and went right to work. Quarterback Andrew Luck and running back Boom Herron carried the load. Luck hit 3-of-6 passes for 34 yards -- two of them to Herron for 26 yards. Herron ran the ball three times for 32 yards, including the 2-yard touchdown. Adam Vinatieri kicked the extra point.** Colts 7, Bengals 0.
FIRST QUARTER (1:28 remaining)
The Bengals battled back late in the first quarter as quarterback Andy Dalton heated up. Dalton connected on 3-of-4 passes for 46 yards. Running back Jeremy Hill had rushing plays of 18 and 4 yards before bolting 1 yard for the touchdown. Mike Nugent added the extra point.Colts 7, Bengals 7.
SECOND QUARTER (12:41 remaining)
Vinatieri sent the Colts ahead again with a 38-yard field goal. Luck played the biggest role in getting Vinatieri in position. A scramble by Luck was good for 18 yards. He also completed 5-of-9 passes for 63 yards before the drive stalled. Colts 10, Bengals 7.
SECOND QUARTER (8:34 remaining)
Vinatieri hit another field goal, this one from 29 yards. The big play of the drive was a 45-yard pass completion, Luck to Hakeem Nicks.** Colts 13, Bengals 7.
SECOND QUARTER (10 seconds remaining)
The Bengals sliced into the Indy lead when Nugent hit a 57-yard field goal just before halftime. Its length represented a postseason franchise record for the Bengals. A Colts mistake aided the Cincinnati cause. Herron's fumble after a 17-yard gain on a pass reception gave the Bengals possession at their own 41-yard line.Colts 13, Bengals 10.
THIRD QUARTER (7:48 remaining)
Luck hit 3-of-4 passes for 58 yards on the march, including a 36-yarder to Donte Moncrief for the touchdown. Vinatieri added the extra point.** Colts 20, Bengals 10.
THIRD QUARTER (1:31 remaining)
Herron got the drive going with a pair of nine-yard runs. Then Luck and the passing game took over, with the big plays being a 14-yard completion to T.Y. Hilton and an 18-yarder to Coby Fleener. Vinatieri came in to kick his third field goal of the game, a 22-yarder.Colts 23, Bengals 10.
FOURTH QUARTER (11:31 remaining)
Vinatieri continued to hurt the Bengals. When another Colts drive stalled, the call went out again to the veteran kicker, who coolly knocked through a 53-yard field goal to extend the Indy lead.Colts 26, Bengals 10.