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It's time to start thinking of the Colts as a contender

The Colts are 4-1, and have knocked off the 49ers and the Seahawks. It's time to start raising expectations.

Michael Hickey

When Colts owner Jim Irsay told the media in July that he had championship-caliber expectations for his team this year, many people (including more than a few fans) mocked such notions.

Following Indianapolis' dramatic fourth quarter comeback against the Seattle Seahawks, it's now looking more like crazy ole Jim Irsay might have been on to something.

The Colts are 4-1, and have spent the last three weeks dismantling the 49ers, pummeling the Jaguars, and now roaring back to knock off the previously unbeaten Seahawks. They've done so by winning in a variety of ways.

Against San Fran, it was their running game and their defense. Against Jacksonville, it was pretty much everything, primarily because the Jaguars are terrible.

Against the Seahawks, it was big plays and the resolve of quarterback Andrew Luck.

On a day when the Colts defense - which had been their bedrock since Week 3 - did not play their best, it was Luck and the offense that propelled the Colts to victory and first place in the AFC South after five games. Like the 49ers, the Seahawks are considered one of the top teams in all of football. Just last week, they had a big comeback win of their own, rallying from down 20-3 at halftime to knockoff the Texans in OT, 23-20.

In fourth quarters this season, Seattle had outscored opponents 44-3. Sunday against the Colts, it was Seattle that was outscored 11-0.

The win was a result of every portion of the team chipping in to make an impact. Though the defense was not stellar in the first half, it settled down in the second, holding Seattle to two fields. For the entire afternoon, the Seahawks were 3-11 on third down.

But, truly, it was Andrew Luck and the offense that drove the Colts to victory.

This week, Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton used more no-huddle, particularly in the fourth quarter. This befuddled the Seahawks defense, wearing them down as time ticked on.

Whether it's running hurry-up, pounding the rock with the run game, or feasting on turnovers, the Colts have evolved into a team that can beat you in a variety of ways. As a result, it's time to start thinking of this team as a legitimate title contender.

It's time to start seeing what Jim Irsay saw back in July.