Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham is lost for the season after tearing his patellar tendon in his right knee during the fourth quarter of Seattle’s 39-30 victory over Pittsburgh.
The up-and-down first season for Jimmy Graham as a Seahawk ended in the worst fashion possible Sunday as he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in the fourth quarter of a 39-30 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Graham will have surgery and is done for the year, coach Pete Carroll said after the game. Carroll said he had no specific timeline for when Graham will return.
The patellar tendon is the structure that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone (tibia), as described by Orthopedics.com.
“We’ve loved Jimmy Graham coming to our team and we are very grateful that he has been a part of it and we are going to miss the heck out of him the rest of the season,” Carroll said, calling it “unfortunate.”
Graham was injured while attempting to catch a pass in the end zone from Russell Wilson with 13:41 to go in the game. The ball appeared underthrown and Graham went down as he tried to battle for it with Pittsburgh’s Antwon Blake.
Luke Willson will now step into the starting role and called the news of Graham’s injury “tough.” Willson caught a 12-yard pass on the play after Graham’s injury, something Carroll said wasn’t a coincidence.
“I think it was a little bit of something that (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) wanted to hit,” Graham said.
Willson has had to step in for injured players before, including Zach Miller after three games last season.
So he’s used to the role. Still he said it won’t be easy to replace Graham.
“Everybody loves him,” Willson said. “I know Jimmy, he is probably down right now but what I have gotten to know of him these past six, seven months, he will attack this rehab and be back next year.”
Graham, acquired in a much-balleyhooed trade in the off-season in which the Seahawks sent Max Unger and their first-round pick to New Orleans while also getting back a fourth-round pick, finished the season with 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 45.
Shead gets call as Williams sits
DeShawn Shead started in place of veteran cornerback Cary Williams, and it was not a last-minute decision. Shead knew earlier in the week that he would start opposite Richard Sherman.
The Seahawks elected to not even suit up Williams on the 46-player game-day roster, which came a week after Williams was benched midgame. Williams, 30, has struggled to refine the complicated technique the Seahawks teach their corners, and he has struggled in coverage.
Shead is the pocketknife of Seattle’s secondary. He started at safety during Kam Chancellor’s holdout and at nickel cornerback while Jeremy Lane was injured. But Carroll said he wanted to give Shead a shot at outside cornerback.
“He was challenged throughout,” Carroll said. “There was no hiding out there today. They were coming after guys, and they went after him, like they should. … He held up play after play after play.”
Shead wasn’t perfect. He gave up a 40-yard catch to Martavis Bryant and was part of the equation in allowing Markus Wheaton and Bryant to combine for 270 receiving yards. But he also knocked away a few would-be big plays and drew praise from his teammates and coaches.
“I think he owned his position,” safety Earl Thomas said. “As far as with the matchup, it was in their favor a little bit, just the talent level and Big Ben and the concepts that they could attack us with. But he contested everything. Even on that last play, when Kam made the big interception, he was right there to contest it and tip it.”
Whether Shead is the starting cornerback going forward is unclear. The Seahawks could give Williams another chance, and Jeremy Lane is an option, too. He played in his first game and warmed up as Shead’s backup before the game.
Of his own performance, Shead said, ”There were some plays that I felt like I should have made and places I should have been. But I felt like I did a decent job.”
Lane gets feet wet quickly
Cornerback Jeremy Lane made his first appearance since suffering an ACL injury and broken wrist in the Super Bowl. And he didn’t need long to make a splash with an interception of Pittsburgh QB Landry Jones on a fake field goal to start the second quarter. Lane returned the pass 54 yards to set up Seattle’s first touchdown.
“I heard our special teams coach on the sideline yelling, ‘It’s a quarterback, it’s a quarterback in!’ So that kind of alerted me something fishy was about to happen,’’ said Lane, who picked off a pass intended for offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva. “So I just played the play. I saw them going to the flats and the quarterback looking my way, and I just jumped it.”
Lane later played the second half at nickelback after an injury to Marcus Burley.
Lane said he played more than he thought and acknowledged it took some time to shake off the rust.
“Exactly, it will come with time,’’ he said. “I feel like I’ll get better every week.”
Rubin gets his pick of passes
Seattle defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin will add the ball he intercepted to his trophy case, but it isn’t his first interception-turned-souvenir. It’s actually his second.
Rubin, a 325-pound defensive tackle in his first year with the Seahawks, picked off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger attempting a short pass in the third quarter and led to a Seahawks’ touchdown two plays later.
“It means a lot,” said Rubin, who faced Roethlisberger regularly during the seven years he spent in Cleveland before signing with Seattle this offseason. “That guy deserves to get picked.”
Seahawks-Ravens flexed out
The NFL announced Sunday that Seattle’s game at Baltimore on Dec. 13 will be flexed out of its prime-time slot and will instead start at 10 a.m. PT. NBC will instead show New England vs. Houston.
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