Tight end Jimmy Graham continued his monster season, earlier this afternoon, when the New Orleans Saints took on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Although held without a touchdown, Graham finished the day with 10 catches for 135 yards, and also tied a record for tight ends. The Saints were able to preserve their perfect record, improving to 5-0 and laying claim to the best team in the NFC.
Graham, in recording 100 yards or more for the fourth consecutive game, tied an NFL record for consecutive 100-yard games by a tight end. That record is also held by the Atlanta Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez when he was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2000, and by Graham again, in the 2011 season.
Since emerging onto the scene in 2010, Graham has quickly become one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, and a safe and reliable target when the Saints need yardage. He also became the first tight end in Saints history to record 1,000 yards or more receiving. He has shown opposing defenses that even triple coverage will not necessarily stop him, as he did last Monday night against the Miami Dolphins.
As it stands right now it is not outside the realm of possibility that Graham could finish the season with somewhere around 19 or 20 touchdowns. Heading into the Week 5 match up against the Bears, Graham was averaging 1.5 touchdowns per game and was on track to meet or beat Randy Moss’ 2007 record, when he recorded 23. Given the pace he has set for himself this year, Graham will likely surpass New England Patriots‘ tight end Rob Gronkowski’s 2011 record of 17 touchdown catches.
If Graham keeps producing the kind of numbers he has through the Saints’ first five games, New Orleans will easily retake the NFC South title. Should the Saints reach the postseason, expect Graham to attract major attention.