Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) celebrates one of his six receptions with teammate Doug Baldwin during Sunday’s NFL game in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) celebrates one of his six receptions with teammate Doug Baldwin during Sunday’s NFL game in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Graham’s presence making an impact in Seahawks’ offense

SEATTLE — When the Seattle Seahawks traded for tight end Jimmy Graham before the 2015 season, fans envisioned touchdown passes and long jump balls raining out of the sky and coming to rest in Graham’s hands.

Those dreams finally came true Sunday as Graham had what might be considered his breakout game as a Seahawk in Seattle’s 37-18 NFL victory over San Francisco at CenturyLink Field.

Graham had six receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown as part of a newly explosive passing attack.

He has had better statistics in his previous 13 games with the Seahawks, but Sunday it was clear that he was a focal point of the game plan and that he and quarterback Russell Wilson are starting to click.

“Jimmy is a phenomenal weapon for us, and he’s a phenomenal asset,” said Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who also was spectacular with eight catches for a career-high 164 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s huge for us, his presence on our offense, not only as the football player and what he can do for us in terms of catching the ball and blocking, but also his leadership and his presence in the huddle,” Baldwin said.

One play after Baldwin caught a 59-yard pass from Wilson in the second quarter, Wilson scrambled to his left and found Graham in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass that made the score 21-3.

Moments later, Wilson heaved the ball down the middle of the field, and the 6-foot-7 Graham came down with it despite good coverage by 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt, who is 6-1.

The play was good for 40 yards and set up a field goal that made the halftime score 24-3.

“He’s like 6-9. Just throw it up to him,” Wilson said, exaggerating Graham’s height. “I looked down the field and just tried to find somebody, and there was this big guy running down the field.

“Just try to give him a chance and he came down with it, and that was huge,” Wilson said.

It’s not that Graham was a flop last year. He had 48 catches and two touchdowns in a season that was cut short to 11 games by a knee injury.

But many Seahawks fans expected so much more from a player who put up huge numbers in New Orleans with a pass-happy offense and bombs-away quarterback Drew Brees.

“It’s been fantastic,” Baldwin said. “Jimmy has done an excellent job of being patient. Obviously, sometimes it’s frustrating because he came from an offense where he’s seeing all these targets, and that’s just not the way that we do it here.

“But he’s been patient with it, and he’s bought into the fact that we’re about controlling the game with the ground game and then making the most of our opportunities when we get the targets. He’s fully bought into the fact that this is how we play football,” Baldwin said.

“I love him because of it, and he’s very passionate about being a good teammate for the Seattle Seahawks.”

If it seems overdue, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said it shouldn’t.

“There really is something to chemistry between receivers and quarterbacks. There’s really something there, and particularly with Russell, who’s such a thoughtful guy,” Carroll said.

“It’s so important for him (Wilson) to have a sense for who he’s playing with and all of that, for all the right reasons, and it just takes time.”

Baldwin would be a prime example of that.

Undrafted out of college, he and Wilson have grown up together as professionals, and they have become an extremely productive combination.

They connected for 34 yards on the second play of the game Sunday, and Christine Michael ran for 41 yards and a touchdown on the next play to give Seattle a 7-0 lead 43 seconds into the game.

“It was very important to us to get off to a good start,” Baldwin said. “Obviously, every time you go out there you want to get off to a good start, but with us struggling in the past couple of games against good defenses, we wanted to come out here and be successful.”

Michael did his part as well, carrying the ball 20 times for a career high 106 yards and his first two NFL touchdowns.

Altogether, the Seattle offense showed a spark and swagger on Sunday that was painfully absent the first two weeks of the season, in which the Seahawks scored one touchdown and 15 points.

“We know what we’re capable of,” Wilson said, “and we showed that today.”

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