SEATTLE — Was this the day we finally saw the real Seattle Seahawks?
No, those weren’t imposters who won nine of their first 10 games, sometimes in spite of themselves.
Injuries, however, had the Seahawks’ V-8 engine running on four cylinders. Like a car with a flat tire, they still got where they needed to go, albeit with a lot of smoke and grinding along the way.
In Sunday’s 41-20 win over Minnesota we finally saw, in the flesh, the team experts had tabbed as a Super Bowl pick before the season.
Pro Bowler Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini returned, meaning the baling wire and duct tape that held together the offensive line could be put back into storage.
Seahawks fans got their first Percy Harvin sighting on Seattle’s third drive. His first catch, a 17-yarder in the second quarter, was a thing of beauty — a stretched-out, one-handed tip to himself.
His 58-yard kick return let Seattle mount a 38-second touchdown drive just before halftime. Sunday, Harvin showed flashes of the difference-making dynamo the Seahawks envisioned when they acquired him in the off-season.
“I don’t see any more setbacks,” Harvin said. “I didn’t get banged up. I’ll keep rehabbing during the bye and be ready for Monday night (Dec. 2, against the Saints).”
Russell Wilson, as consistent as they come when he’s not running for his life in the backfield, had his highest quarterback rating of his career (151.4).
“It’s good to have those guys back,” Wilson said. “The thing about Percy is he draws attention. He can do it all.”
And the defense had another stellar performance, forcing four turnovers.
Before Sunday, about the only thing consistent about the Seahawks is that they won.
A run game that hummed like a Porsche against Atlanta had sputtered like a Pinto two weeks earlier against St. Louis. Between those games, the Jekyll and Hyde showing against Tampa Bay summed up the season to that point — exciting, frustrating, but ultimately victorious.
The Seahawks weren’t perfect on Sunday.
Sure-fire Pro Bowler Richard Sherman let Jarius Wright behind him for a 38-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Seven penalties for 96 yards is still too many.
But for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, the regular season is but a preliminary argument ahead of the ultimate verdict. This team will be judged by how it does in the playoffs.
And one senses this team is rounding into form for a serious Super Bowl run.