Jimmy Graham’s big day gets rewarded

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The Saints’ attempt to dig out from under their 0-4 start to return to the playoff picture got a huge boost from Sunday’s 31-27 win over the Falcons.

Tight end Jimmy Graham played a big role in that winning effort. He caught seven passes for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns as the Saints handed the Falcons their first loss of the season. As a result of that performance, the NFL announced today that Graham is the NFC offensive player of the week.

Graham wasn’t the only tight end to have a good day in New Orleans. Tony Gonzalez had 11 catches and two touchdowns, good enough to earn him (and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan) consideration for weekly honors despite the loss.

It was the first time this season that Graham topped 100 receiving yards in a game, although he has been on a pretty good roll since returning from an ankle injury three weeks ago. Graham has 20 catches for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games, two of which have been Saints wins. The Saints will need him to keep producing at that level to keep their chances of moving on to the postseason alive. Based on recent results, Graham should be able to do that if he remains healthy.