EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jimmy Graham wasn't open, per se, but Russell Wilson threw it anyway, and despite good coverage by the Jets, the Seahawks tight end hauled in a 24-yard reception on the sideline.
Two plays later, the Seahawks were in the end zone again and well on their way to a 27-17 victory over the New York Jets. And for the second week in a row, Graham was a huge part of the offensive effort, this time catching six passes for 113 yards, his second straight game of 100 or more yards.
"Gosh, I don't know what to say about Jimmy," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's just a monster out there. That's two weeks back-to-back of just tremendous plays, one after the other. You can see Russell believing in him. You can see him putting the ball up to him where he's going to have the best shot to get it. Just exquisite throws. But the catches and the completions of the plays by Jimmy was just marvelous. Just really great to see that."
Added Wilson: "Jimmy Graham is a bad, bad man. He can do anything. He can make any play, any catch. He's a special player."
Graham playing so well in consecutive weeks would be noteworthy regardless of any extenuating circumstances, but his past two games have been particularly impressive considering the injury that ended his 2015 season. When Graham went down with a torn patellar tendon in November, his availability for the start of this season was very much in question. The Seahawks knew they would get Graham back this season, but they weren't sure if he'd be back in Week 1, or capable of performances like Sunday's within the first month of the season.
"We just didn't know," Carroll said. "We knew that he would get healed, but we didn't know how he would respond and come back. I don't know how you can get tested any more and demonstrate that you're back fully than he did in the past two weeks. Every catch is an extraordinary play in some way. I can't say that we expected it, we just hoped for it and really hoped for him. He did such an extraordinary job of dedicating himself to being right and being well, just like Russell has done and other guys have done too. It's such great work. He loves to play so much. He just needed to make it back. The fact that he did, I don't know, heroic? I don't know. These guys are doing some great things. I'm really proud of them."
While most people were unsure if Graham would make it back and play at such a high level this soon, he never doubted it would happen.
"I did, but nobody else did," Graham said when asked he expected to be contributing this early in the season. "I'm just a little different. I worked literally every second of the day on my knee if I wasn't flying—which is more of a soul thing—I put so much into this to try to be back here for this team Week 1 and to try to make it back to start the season. It's just hard work paying off.
"It's definitely been a hard road for me. It's been every day pain and every day suffering to get to this moment. For me it's a good step in the right direction. It's everything I worked so hard for for the last 10 months to be here for this team and to help us get wins."
Graham's back-to-back big games are a sign not just that he's healthy, but also of the chemistry he and Wilson have continued to build. Graham and Wilson appeared to just be hitting their stride together last season when Graham went down, and after months away, getting that back wasn't instant, but Wilson now seems more comfortable throwing the ball to Graham than ever, as that contested fourth-quarter completion demonstrated.
"He believes in me, he really believes in me," Graham said. "Sometimes when a guy is running with me, like right next to me, he just believes if he gets me the ball, I'm going to make a play. There were a couple of special plays where he just had that belief in me and threw it up.
"I always tell him, either I'm going to get it or nobody will."
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Look through some action photos from Week 4 vs the New York Jets at MetLife Field.