By Brady Henderson
Percy Harvin’s long-awaited return was short-lived.
The Seahawks receiver played two quarters of Saturday’s divisional-round playoff win over New Orleans and took a pair of hard hits, including one in which he sustained a concussion that could threaten his availability for next weekend’s NFC Championship Game.
Percy Harvin caught three passes in his return to the Seahawks but left in the second quarter after sustaining a concussion when he hit his head on the turf. (AP)
“The poor kid,” coach Pete Carroll said afterward, “he finally gets to play and he banged his head against the turf really hard.”
Harvin’s first game back since Nov. 17 – and only his second this season – hit the familiar notes, which is to say it included a few impressive plays and ended with some degree of uncertainty about his status going forward. He made a leaping grab for a first down and led Seattle with three receptions before leaving the game in the second quarter after he landed hard while trying to make a catch in the end zone.
He had taken another shot on Seattle’s first offensive possession when he was leveled by safety Rafael Bush while trying to haul in a deep ball near the sideline, drawing a 15-yard penalty for an illegal hit to the head. Harvin was evaluated for a potential concussion following that play but returned after missing one series.
“He was OK the first time,” Carroll said, “but the second one really rocked him.”
The Seahawks said they weren’t going to hold Harvin back in his return, and they didn’t. He was targeted four times – including on two of Seattle’s first three plays – and gained 9 yards on an end-around. He finished with 21 yards receiving on three catches, none bigger than the leaping grab he made late in the second quarter which gained 16 yards and converted a third down, extending a drive that would end with a field goal and a 16-0 lead for Seattle.
More coverage of Seattle’s divisional-round win over New Orleans at CenturyLink Field.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O’Neil: What We Learned||• Henderson: Carroll says Harvin wasn’t targeted||• Henderson: Marshawn Lynch sets playoff record||• Huard: Breaking down Lynch’s first touchdown||• Stecker: Saints’ offense meets its match again||• O’Neil: Irvin, Graham square off during warmups||• O’Neil: Another nail-biting finish for Seahawks|
“That was a big-time catch,” quarterback Russell Wilson said.
Harvin was not available for comment after the game, consistent with the team’s policy for players who sustain head injuries. He will have to pass the league-mandated concussion testing next week in order to play in the NFC title game, which will be held Sunday.
The concussion is more tough luck for a player who missed Seattle’s first 10 games after undergoing offseason hip surgery, finally made his Seahawks debut in Week 11 and then was sidelined for the remainder of the regular season because of lingering discomfort.
He was a factor in his return, as short-lived as it was.
“He was battling, did a nice job and gave us a little spark,” Carroll said. “I think he had three catches and a run, which were nice plays for him in his first outing, and hopefully he’ll be able to make it back for next week.”