Andrew Luck helps return Indianapolis Colts to ranks of elite

This is the backstory to one of the great moments of Week 5, the Indianapolis Colts' fourth-quarter rally to knock off the previously unbeaten Seattle Seahawks, the sixth fourth-quarter comeback in the young career of quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts' rally, as well as Peyton Manning directing the Denver Broncos' dramatic win over the Dallas Cowboys and Geno Smith leading the New York Jets to a last-second win over the Atlanta Falcons, are nominees for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the week. Cast your vote for the GMC Never Say Never Moments of Week 5.

Let us all welcome the Indianapolis Colts back to the ranks of the elite. The return to success from the Peyton Manning-led Colts to the Andrew Luck-led Colts has been swift; not to mention humbling to the team's division rivals who for years have been chasing the Colts (the Houston Texans' anticipated reign atop the AFC South lasted just two seasons). The Colts' most recent victories -- a hard-fought 27-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers, a 37-3 demolition of the Jacksonville Jaguars and a 34-28 triumph over the Seahawks -- are an emphatic statement that Indianapolis is back as a force to contend with for a berth in the Super Bowl.

Here are the key moments before the moment:

'Hawk hurry out to 12-0 lead

The play: With five minutes left in the first quarter, Pat McAfee's punt was blocked by the Seahawks. The ball rolled to the back of the end zone, where the Seahawks were unable to recover it in time for a touchdown.

The aftermath: The safety put the Seahawks up 12-0. It was just the latest in a myriad of big plays by the Seahawks this season. Last week, a pick six by Richard Sherman turned the tide in the Seahawks' favor in an overtime win on the road against the Houston Texans. Early in Indianapolis, it appeared the opportunistic Seahawks had gained a huge edge. The Seahawks defense entered Sunday ranked second in the NFL in both points allowed per game (11.8) and takeaways (13).

Colts strike back

The play: Luck hits T.Y. Hilton for a 73-yard touchdown.

The aftermath: Hilton scorched the Seahawks' secondary in the Colts' win. He did so after insults hurled at him by a Seahawks defensive back helped the receiver elevate his game to a magnificent level. The 73-yard touchdown reception was the longest of Hilton's career, and his fourth touchdown of 60-plus yards since entering the league in 2012 (the second-most in that time span behind Adrian Peterson's six).

Indiana block party

The play: Undermined by the Seahawks' blocked punt for a safety earlier in the game, the Colts' special teams had a more stunning answer. Lawrence Guy broke through to block a Steven Hauschka field-goal attempt. The loose ball was picked up by Delano Howell, who raced 61 yards for a Colts touchdown.

The aftermath: After falling behind 12-0 early, the Colts suddenly found themselves up 14-12. This marked the first game since 1989 that included scoring plays on both a blocked punt and a blocked field goal. In that game 24 years ago, the Buffalo Bills' Mark Kelso scored on a 76-yard blocked field goal return and the Houston Oilers' Cris Dishman scored on a 7-yard blocked punt return (the Bills went on to win that 1989 game in Never Say Never Moment-esque fashion, 47-41, in overtime).

The Colts' lead was short-lived. The Seahawks offered a rebuttal on their next drive in the form of a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse. Wilson was making plays with his arm and legs in this thrilling contest at Lucas Oil Stadium. Wilson had his first career 100-yard rushing game.

Colts mount comeback

The play: Luck hits Hilton again for a touchdown, this time a 29-yard score.

The aftermath: The Seahawks had built a 25-17 lead, but Hilton's score trimmed the Colts' deficit to two (a two-point conversion try failed). The Seahawks answered with Hauschka's fourth field goal to take a 28-23 lead. The Colts, however, didn't back down. Luck orchestrated an 86-yard drive that consumed nearly seven minutes of the fourth quarter. That march ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Donald Brown and a successful two-point conversion on a Luck-to-Reggie Wayne pass. The Seahawks went three and out and the Colts responded with another lengthy march, taking up 4:43 of valuable fourth-quarter clock and setting up Adam Vinatieri's 49-yard field goal that gave the Colts a 34-28 lead.

The moment

The play:Colts cornerback Darius Butler picks off Wilson on the Seahawks' last possession, sealing the 34-28 come-from-behind victory.

The aftermath: The interception gave Luck has ninth career game-winning drive and his sixth career fourth-quarter comeback. The Colts, meanwhile, are off to their best start since 2009, when the Manning-led Colts opened the season 14-0, finished 14-2 and appeared in Super Bowl XLIV. It was the Colts' second win in three weeks over perceived NFC title favorites, and showed that Indianapolis is good enough to compete with any team in the league.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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