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Jimmy Graham proving to be Seahawks’ biggest red zone threat

Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham records a touchdown in the first quarter. (AP)

If you’re still complaining about the Seahawks’ use of Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, you’re probably not alone — but you might want to take a look at his numbers this season.

Seattle’s 22-16 win over the Cardinals Thursday night marked Graham’s second two-touchdown performance in three games. His second score was his sixth touchdown of the season, which matches his regular season high from 2016.

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There’s a key difference in those numbers, though: five of Graham’s six touchdowns in 2016 were from 17 yards out or more, and two were from 30 or more yards.

In 2017, all but one of Graham’s six touchdowns have been in the red zone.

Those scores have come on timely matchups that allowed Seattle to pit Graham’s 6-feet-7 frame against, well, most defenders. It’s something Seahawks fans have been calling for since Seattle acquired the Pro Bowler in a 2015 blockbuster trade.

Graham’s first touchdown Thursday came on a 3rd-and-three from the Cardinals’ 6-yard line. Graham overpowered 6-foot safety Tyvon Branch to haul in a pass from Russell Wilson.

Graham’s second touchdown followed a spectacular connection between Wilson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin that landed the Seahawks at the Cardinals’ 2-yard line. Wilson threw a 2-yard pass to Graham, who shook off safety Antoine Bethea to cap off a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive.

“I know everybody’s been wanting to see that, and we’re seeing it,” head coach Pete Carroll said postgame. “And Jimmy’s doing a great job, and Russ is doing a great job with it. He’s just that kind of a player that you can really go to. … Pretty extraordinary.”

Notes

• Wide receiver Paul Richardson continues to shine on Seattle’s offense. Richardson, who has five touchdowns on the season, caught a highlight reel-worthy 43-yard pass from Wilson. The play helped set up a field goal to give the Seahawks a 15-7 lead going into halftime.

• Seattle’s hard-fought win at a hefty price, with cornerback Richard Sherman suffering a season-ending Achilles injury.