SEATTLE – Every chance he got during the week, Percy Harvin got into Pete Carroll’s ear and asked for a chance to not just make his awaited debut in Seattle, but do it both as a wide receiver and a kick returner. And every time Harvin pleaded, Carroll said no.
With less than a minute left in the first half, Carroll relented and gave Harvin a shot at the kind of game-changing play the Seahawks waited an extra three months to finally see. Against his former team, Harvin made certain to deliver in a 41-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
“It was something I wanted real bad and not just because I wanted to make a big play, but I’m a kick returner so I wanted to get back there and get a feel for the kick returning again,” Harvin said. “It was a chance to make a big play and he came to me and I was able to make it.”
Harvin’s 58-yard kickoff return late in the first half set up Russell Wilson’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 10 seconds left in the second quarter, and the Seahawks rolled to their franchise-record 13th straight home win.
Harvin made his highly anticipated Seattle debut after missing the first 10 weeks of the regular season following hip surgery. While he was mostly a decoy offensively, he provided two of the biggest plays as the Seahawks improved to 10-1 and stayed on top of the NFC.
Harvin pulled in a juggling third-down conversion for 17 yards in the second quarter that led to Marshawn Lynch’s second TD run and gave Seattle the lead for good.
Then came his kickoff return at the end of the half that helped give the Seahawks take a 24-13 lead at the break.
Harvin’s two touches were athletic and impressive, and a brief peek at what the best team in the NFC could be adding for their final five games.
“The glimpse of us having the firepower all over the field, that’s what we’ve been waiting on this whole season,” Baldwin said.
After the game, Harvin revealed the hip surgery wasn’t his only procedure in the past year. Harvin had an appendectomy late last fall and a tumor was discovered in the appendix.
“He’s an extraordinary football player, but he’s a better competitor,” Carroll said. “That’s what we love about him.”
Broncos 27, Chiefs 17: In Denver, Peyton Manning walked off the field showing no trace of a limp and hardly a spot of dirt.
Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown Sunday night and was barely touched by Kansas City’s sack-happy defense as the offensive line did its job in the Broncos’ victory over the NFL’s last undefeated team.
“They were under fire last week because Peyton got hit a few times but they’ve done a great job all year,” said Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio, now 2-0 while John Fox recovers from heart surgery. “We knew this was going to be a game you had to play well in the trenches to have a chance.”
Bears 23, Ravens 20 (OT): In Chicago, Robbie Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal to lift the Bears to a victory over Baltimore.
Saints 23, 49ers 20: In New Orleans, Marques Colston capped a big day with a 20-yard reception to get the Saints into field goal range, and Garrett Hartley kicked a 31-yarder as time expired.
Eagles 24, Redskins 16: In Philadelphia, Nick Foles threw for 298 yards and ran for a touchdown, LeSean McCoy had two TDs rushing as the Eagles snapped a 10-game home skid.
Bengals 41, Browns 20: In Cincinnati, Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes as the Bengals returned a blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns during a 31-point second quarter.
Steelers 37, Lions 27: In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 367 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the final 5 minutes.
Bills 37, Jets 14: In Orchard Park, New York, Jairus Byrd had two interceptions in leading a Buffalo defense that forced four turnovers.
Raiders 28, Texans 23: In Houston, rookie Matt McGloin threw three touchdown passes in his first NFL start as Oakland extended the Texans’ franchise-record skid to eight games in Houston coach Gary Kubiak’s return from a mini-stroke.
Cardinals 27, Jaguars 14: In Jacksonville, Carson Palmer threw for 419 yards and two scores and did not throw an interception for the first time all year.
Buccaneers 41, Falcons 28: In Tampa, Bobby Rainey rushed for 163 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Buccaneers over struggling Atlanta.
Giants 27, Packers 13: In East Rutherford, New Jersey, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul scored on a spectacular, leaping 24-yard fourth-quarter interception return as the resurgent Giants won their fourth game in a row.
Dolphins 20, Chargers 16: In Miami, the Dolphins held San Diego without a touchdown over the final three quarters as Brent Grimes broke up Philip Rivers’ final pass in the end zone as time expired.