The Indianapolis Colts are preparing for another major test this Sunday against the undefeated Seattle Seahawks (4-0). They dominated another west coast powerhouse, the San Francisco 49ers, in week three and then rolled past the struggling Jaguars last week. Now the Colts have a chance to really make a bold statement by defeating a Seahawks team that always finds a way to win, and are widely considered one of the favorite teams to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year.
"I'm just glad I made it to this day," said Coach Chuck Pagano, speaking with a hoarse voice on his birthday.
"They (Seahawks) are built the right way, a lot of speed and athleticism. They are 4-0: It's a huge challenge for us."
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is a scrappy player that can beat you with his arm or his legs. He is known as a scrambler that has a knack for turning a broken play into a game winning score.
Andrew Luck is not as widely known as a running threat. Don't be fooled by his pocket presence and strong arm, he is effective with his runs and takes off and gets yards more often than many people think. At the moment he has rushed for only five yards less than Wilson on half as many attempts. Pagano said that his QB has a linebacker's mentality and that he is, "deceptively fast."
Luck disagreed: "I definitely don't think I have a linebacker mentality, I realize you gotta slide and take care of your body, be safe. But if you can pick up a first down with your legs, that can help keep a drive going in a game for the offense, but I'm definitely looking to pass first."
Most of the talk about the Seahawks around the league centers on their defense. They have three all-pro defensive backs led by the outspoken Richard Sherman. Does their size and skill set change the game plan for the Colts passing attack?
"I don't think so, our receivers know what they are up against," Luck said. "I've got all the faith in the world in them. They'll run great routes. Reggie Wayne's been getting open for 12 or 13 years, he'll get open."
When asked about the team's performance this season and battling through injuries to maintain it's balance Coach Pagano said, " We are not getting away from who we are or what we do. We can, we will, we must get the job done, expectations are high."
Colts Safety Antoine Bethea appreciates the teams balance with the three unit approach of the Colts under Pagano. "It's a team game. On Sunday, it's not just one guy or two guys, or just offense or defense. It's 53 guys focused on one goal."
The Colts remaining schedule includes some of the NFL's top teams, including the October 20th battle with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, but beating the Seahawks on Sunday will send a clear message to the rest of the league. The Colts can win the big games against the top teams, not just with the heroics of star quarterback Andrew Luck, but with a balanced team approach.