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With a beastly running game, a dynamic young quarterback and one of the NFL’s most intimidating defenses coming into the 2013 season, the Seattle Seahawks were expected to do big things this year, but after improving to an NFL-best 10-1 record (best start in franchise history) with a win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the Seahawks and their boisterous 12th Man have been even better than advertised. However, what’s truly frightening for their upcoming opponents is that there is still room for improvement and it comes in the form of a healthy and hungry Percy Harvin, who made his Seahawks debut against his former team this past Sunday.
Despite winning 15 of their last 16 regular season games dating back to last year, the Seahawks have failed to impress some fans and analysts, who have pointed to the Seahawks’ inability to blow out inferior opponents and tendency to “win ugly” at times during their recent stretch of victories. However, if not winning convincingly enough was a problem for the Hawks, then that problem could be solved with the addition of Harvin, a match-up nightmare for opponents who gives Seattle’s perceived “flawed” offense an extra dimension, as well as another explosive weapon.
While he didn’t put up earth-shattering numbers against the Vikes, Harvin certainly showed off that explosive side in limited playing time. He didn’t play a ton of offensive snaps, but he reminded NFL fans of his array of abilities with a 58-yard kick return and a diving third-down-converting catch. Apparently, he also jogged the memory of his old cohorts as well, because the Vikings booted the ball away from him on the kickoff following his long return.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, Harvin’s return performance was likely just a peek at the added production they’ll be getting for the remainder of the season. Behind Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Mode,” the Seahawks already owned the league’s best rush offense, but with Harvin’s multi-leveled skill set, the Hawks could form a new identity as a well-balanced, all-around powerhouse going forward. With 30 total touchdowns in his career as a receiver (20), ball carrier (5) and kick returner (5), Harvin allows Seattle to open up its playbook, giving confused defenses even more looks, more field to cover and much more to worry about.
With Minnesota, Harvin’s small frame and deceptive speedy burst was the ultimate change-of-pace to Adrian Peterson’s ground-churning power runs, and Harvin should be able to service Seattle’s offense in the same way. With defenses focused on slamming the line of scrimmage to gang tackle the mighty leg-driving Lynch, Harvin should be able to slip free and provide the Seahawks with that homerun threat they’ve always been looking for. It’s certainly not a stretch to say that the potent combination of Lynch and Harvin – along with Seattle’s stout defense – makes the Seahawks an even bigger and seemingly unstoppable favorite in the NFC this year.
Of course, in seeing Harvin in a more limited role on Sunday, it’s clear that the offensive hybrid is not quite 100 percent. Before this past week’s game, Harvin hadn’t played in nearly a year since undergoing hip surgery this offseason, so it’s understandable that the Hawks would choose to ease him into the rotation. However, even as a decoy, his mere presence on the field gives Seattle a better chance to score points and win games, and in the big scheme of things, isn’t that all that matters?
While Harvin’s long-awaited return certainly sparked some excitement, fans have to keep their expectations of Harvin in perspective as Seattle continues to gently fold him into its offensive scheme. However, that’s not to say Harvin won’t become a primary offensive weapon for the Hawks as the regular season draws to a close and that he won’t be a difference-maker in the postseason. In fact, that’s exactly what Seattle hopes he turns into and that’s why they traded for him last season; to take that next step to the NFC title game and beyond. While there are still many obstacles to navigate and tough teams to get past, those goals are more attainable than ever for the 2013 Seahawks with Harvin added to the their already proven offensive formula.
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