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Jimmy Graham is (finally) a touchdown machine

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Graham is good at scoring touchdowns
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks entered the fourth quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers with an eight-point lead and the ball second-and-goal at the one-yard line. And just as the team has done multiple times this season when close to the end zone, they decided not to give the ball to Marshawn, instead to have Russell Wilson toss a touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham.

The touchdown reception by Graham put him at eight touchdown catches on the season, with three quarters of those touchdowns coming on receptions of less than five yards. In fact, of the eight touchdowns that Graham has caught this season, only one came on a reception longer than six yards. Here is a look at the distribution of Wilson’s touchdown passes to Jimmy thus far in 2017.

Length of Jimmy Graham’s 2017 touchdown receptions

Length Number of TDs
Length Number of TDs
1 yard 3
2 yards 1
4 yards 2
6 yards 1
18 yards 1

In short, Graham has become the red zone threat, particularly when the team has the ball in close to the goal line, that fans had dreamed of when he was acquired from New Orleans.

Also, the touchdown grab Graham had Sunday afternoon put him all alone atop the all time franchise leaderboard for touchdown receptions by a Seahawk tight end. No one is saying that it is an illustrious or star studded list, however, it is notable that just 43 games into his Seahawks career Graham has taken over the top spot on the list. Making that even more remarkable is the fact that Graham missed the final five games of the 2015 season and barely practiced in 2016 after rupturing his patellar tendon.

Most touchdown receptions in by a TE in Seahawks history

Player TD Receptions
Player TD Receptions
Jimmy Graham 16
Jerramy Stevens 15
Itula Mili 13
John Carlson 13
Luke Willson 10

As seen in the table, Luke Willson is currently fifth place in franchise history in this category, meaning forty percent of the top five players in franchise history for this category are slated to be free agents after this season. Whether Seattle re-signs either Willson or Graham to return in the future remains to be seen, however, second year tight end Nick Vannett put his name on the list Sunday, as he moved into a fifteen way tie for 22nd place with his first career touchdown reception.