Here’s a Super Bowl XLVIII trivia question that may stump some of the less sharp-eyed observers: who was the game’s leading rusher?
Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin gained 54 yards on three carries during the playoffs last season. (AP)
It wasn’t Marshawn Lynch nor his backup, Robert Turbin. It wasn’t Knoshown Moreno nor any of Denver’s other running backs. It wasn’t Russell Wilson, Seattle’s dual-threat quarterback.
The answer: Percy Harvin, who gained 45 yards on a pair of fly-sweep runs.
Carrying the ball was a part of Harvin’s arsenal that went largely unseen last season as he missed all but three games – including the playoffs – with a hip injury and then a concussion. And it’s something to keep in mind while projecting what Seattle’s running game will look like in 2014 amid talk of a potential breakout season from Christine Michael and a possible holdout from Marshawn Lynch.
“Being that I haven’t run the ball here as much as I did in the past I think it could be a little more dangerous here,” Harvin told “The John Clayton Show” on 710 ESPN Seattle Saturday, “especially when you’ve got a [dual-threat] quarterback, you’ve got a beast in Marshawn Lynch and you’ve got a lot of receivers that can stretch the field. There’s a lot of playmakers here.”
Harvin averaged nearly 27 carries a season during his four years with Minnesota, including a career-high 52 in 2011 when he gained 345 yards rushing and scored twice. Some of Harvin’s runs came with him lined up as a running back. The three times he carried the ball last season, though, entailed him taking a handoff while coming in motion across the formation.
“Even when I was with Minnesota, just being that kind of guy that moves around the field – in the slot, in the backfield – I kinda take pride in that knowing that I’m one of the key guys the defenses are looking to locate,” he said.
It’s called “The Harvin Effect”, and it was evident in Seattle’s divisional-round win over New Orleans. Saints free safety Roman Harper – having just seen Harvin gain 9 yards on another fly-sweep run the play before – took several steps in Harvin’s direction as he simulated a bubble screen. That left Harper out of position as Lynch took a handoff and ran for a 15-yard score.
There’s plenty of uncertainty with Seattle’s running game at the moment. The extent and way in which Harvin can contribute to it adds to the intrigue.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.