SEATTLE – The Seattle Seahawks could fake the jet sweep to Percy Harvin every time for the rest of the season, and the mere threat of it would give opposing coordinators headaches.
That's how strong a statement the Seahawks' full-strength offense made in Thursday's 36-16 triumph over the Green Bay Packers, who were helpless to stop the inside-outside attack of Harvin and Marshawn Lynch that makes the reigning Super Bowl champs scarier than ever.
"He's adding this element to our game," receiver Doug Baldwin told USA TODAY Sports of Harvin, who missed most of last season with injuries. "It's going to be unbelievable when we're able to unleash it to the full capacity, because there's so many things that we can do with it."
Lynch ran 20 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns Thursday. And there's no question he benefited from the presence of Harvin, whose speed and ability to stress a defense horizontally are perfect complements to Lynch's physical, downhill running style.
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell dialed up the sweep and two bubble screens for Harvin on the opening series, setting up the inside runs and option plays that are a lot tougher to defend when you're equally concerned about guarding the perimeter.
"We was able to get the edge and adding another dynamic off that, handing the ball to Marshawn," Harvin said. "We're just trying to add a lot of dual threats to a lot of our plays and let the defense pick their poison."
Harvin finished with seven catches for 59 yards, plus 41 yards on four carries as the Seahawks made Dom Capers' perennially embattled defense look silly and turned a 10-all tie into a rout after unfurling their championship banner on a celebratory night at CenturyLink Field.
Russell Wilson was an efficient 19-of-28 passing for 191 yards with two touchdowns. And the Seahawks' one big mistake – Richard Sherman's block on Green Bay's Davon House that led to a muffed punt by Earl Thomas and in turn a Packers touchdown – was a freak occurrence.
"This is what I think everybody envisioned," Harvin said. "We have so many playmakers. To finally get everybody on the field, everybody healthy all at once – Beast Mode's back, the offensive line's working, Russ had a great camp – so everything is finally clicking now."
The Seahawks are still defined by their defense. Look no further than the way star cornerback Richard Sherman's presence altered the Packers' potent passing attack, with Aaron Rodgers all but abandoning Sherman's side of the field and turning it into a 10-on-10 game.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy never got going, held to 34 yards on 12 carries before leaving with a concussion. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett destroyed backup tackle Derek Sherrod, who came on after Bryan Bulaga's knee injury. The cornerback Rodgers did target, Byron Maxwell, got an interception when a wayward pass bounced off Jordy Nelson's hands.
Yet when Rodgers gave the Packers life in the fourth quarter, leading a touchdown drive that cut the deficit to 13 with 9:31 to go, it was the Seahawks' offense that responded with a 13-play, 7-minute march to a TD and buried a team that may well be their top challenger in the NFC.
Asked if coaches are still exploring ways to integrate Harvin, Carroll said, "It's not exploring as much as it takes time to unveil what our thoughts are. We have a million thoughts we love."
They'll face better defenses than the one from Green Bay, which is no stranger to hemorrhaging 207 rushing yards and struggling to stop option plays. But what the Seahawks showed offensively in Week 1 probably won't be their best either.
By Harvin's own admission, he missed so many meetings and practices while recovering from hip surgery last year and later suffering a concussion in the playoffs that, when he did play, Wilson had to come up to him on the field and explain what to do.
"You add Percy to the equation, and he's going to do so much for everybody else," Baldwin said. "He's going to open up lanes for Marshawn, and when we do the fly sweep, they're going to have to account for him heavily in the passing game. That's going to open up things for myself, Ricardo Lockette, Jermaine Kearse and then it's going to help our offensive line.
"I think that's the biggest thing for us, is that they're not going to be able to stack the box and do as many things as they want to do with our offensive line to try to trick them because they have to account for all of us now. It's going to be huge for us all the way around."
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