Sundays 39-30 Week 12 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers was a bittersweet one for the Seattle Seahawks, they improved to 6-5 on the season and currently hold the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs, but they also lost tight end Jimmy Graham for the rest of the season due to a torn patellar tendon. On the outside, the loss is being deemed a significant on, but in Seattle they should not be worrying at all.
During the offseason when Seattle made the trade for Graham, many wondered exactly how he would fit into an run first offense like the Seahawks, pointing to is underwhelming blocking ability. Nonetheless, each week the Seahawks made sure to include Graham as much as possible, but things just have not played out as many thought they would as Graham has only amassed 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns and hasn’t been the red zone threat that he had been with the New Orleans Saints.
Fortunately for Seattle, they have Luke Willson. Currently in the midst of his third NFL season, Willson has been a nice safety valve for quarterback Russell Wilson, and while his stats might not show it ( 12 catches for 152 yards and one touchdown), he is an important part of the Seahawks offense. With Graham now out for the rest of the season, look for Willson to grab a bigger role in the offense.
This will be good news for Seattle as now instead of trying to find ways of incorporating Graham into the game plan, they can return to the more run heavy scheme that they have employed in the past few seasons. The timing couldn’t be better either as the offensive line is now starting to gel and running back Thomas Rawls has shown that he can carry the workload while Marshawn Lynch heals from a sports hernia surgery.
With Jimmy Graham out and a winnable remaining schedule, look for Seattle to return to their old ways as they attempt claim the sixth seed and head to the playoffs looking to reach their third straight Super Bowl.