Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham taking advantage of increased chemistry

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals

RENTON -- Jimmy Graham has eight touchdowns in Seattle's last seven games.

Jimmy Graham had eight touchdowns in his first 31 games with the Seahawks.

What's enabled Graham to be so much more of a force this season near the goal line?

Trust.

"I think he and Russell [Wilson] are feeling it," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "I think they’re on the same page, and I think we talked about early in the year about how they spent a lot of time together, and they’ve worked really hard at it."

It also helps that Graham has gotten more opportunities in that area of the field as well. Graham has been targeted 12 times this season inside the 5-yard line. That's five targets more than any other receiver in the league inside the 5-yard line. Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots has seven targets, with four receptions for touchdowns.

He's also converted a pair of two-point conversions as well, which are snapped from the 2-yard line.

"Well the chemistry is great right now," Wilson said of Graham. "It can’t get any better really. You want to keep it going and keep focusing on ways to get him the football."

Wilson is 7-of-14 for 13 yards and six touchdowns when throwing to Graham inside the 5-yard line. That number includes the two two-point conversion attempts as well.

It's taken some time for Wilson to understand the best way to get Graham the ball near the end zone. Graham's size - 6-foot-7, 265 pounds - enables Graham to box out a defender like a post player in basketball. Instead of looping throws to Graham, Wilson has let Graham use his body to his advantage with hard, direct throws that put the defender in a bind.

"It’s been a long road," Bevell said of developing the chemistry between Wilson and Graham. "Learning Jimmy, learning how he is going to  come off the ball, how the (defensive back) can play him, and there’s so many different types of players that he can be across from him, different ways that they can play him, and different ways that he can run the route and where to put the football for Jimmy when he is running those things. I think all of that has kind of started to come together and I think you have seen it happening on the field that way."

Wilson credits some of his offseason work with Graham as being critical to forming that relationship.

"I think it is just continual work, really," Wilson said. "With Jimmy and I, we are super, super close. We are best friends and stuff, but also I think this  offseason, we were able to really spend a lot of time together throwing.

Graham is not putting up nearly the yardage he did from 2016. Graham caught 65 passes for 923 yards and six touchdowns for Seattle last season. He averaged 14.2 yards a reception a year ago. He's averaging 9.1 yards per receptions this season, which would be the lowest mark of his career.

But with Seattle having just one rushing touchdown on the season from a running back - J.D. McKissic's 30-yard run against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4 - Graham has become the most consistent scoring threat the Seahawks have.

"The object is to score points, which we’ve been able to do, so it’s really by any means necessary," Bevell said. "If we can run it in, we’ll do it, and if we have to throw it in, we’ll get it in that way."

Injury Report:

Photo Credit: GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09: Tight end Jimmy Graham #88 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a six yard touchdown against strong safety Tyvon Branch #27 of the Arizona Cardinals in the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium on November 9, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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