The Seattle Seahawks ranked tied for sixth in the NFL this season with 11 pass plays covering at least 40 yards. They had only six all last season.
The increase reflects a change in offensive emphasis, not a mass influx of dynamic playmakers. None of the Seahawks' receiving options -- Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, Brandon Stokley, John Carlson, Cameron Morrah, Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett -- qualifies as a home-run threat on raw talent alone.
That reality, coupled with issues on the offensive line, leaves Seattle most vulnerable when the team tries to pass from its base offense (two backs, one tight end).
That is one theory, anyway, as I try to explain the following season-long trend apparent through my weekly charting: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has no touchdowns and seven interceptions on only 59 attempts from base personnel. The passing game often appears disjointed, overmatched at the line of scrimmage and on the defensive from this grouping.
I bounced the numbers off former Seattle quarterbacks Brock Huard and Trent Dilfer this week, hoping something might have jumped out to them. They independently suggested this grouping was the toughest from which to mask talent deficiencies. That would suggest Seattle has manufactured big plays in less conventional ways.
The memorable 67-yard run Lynch broke Saturday against New Orleans came from base personnel. More plays such as that one would figure to help the passing game.
The first chart shows Hasselbeck's passing stats by personnel group this season, counting playoffs and excluding clock-stopping spike plays.
The numbers in the personnel column -- 13, 22, etc. -- reflect how many running backs and tight ends were on the field for these plays. For example, the first row shows Hasselbeck completing 4 of 5 passes from "13" personnel (one back, three tight ends).
The "miscellaneous" category covers rarely seen groupings such as five wide receivers, no backs and two tight ends, etc.
2010 Matt Hasselbeck by Personnel Group: Weeks 1-18
The second chart breaks out Hasselbeck's seven interceptions from base personnel this season.
2010 Matt Hasselbeck INTs from Base Personnel
The final chart shows Hasselbeck's efficiency by down and personnel group. For example, Hasselbeck has a 96.5 rating on first-down plays from 22 personnel (two backs, two tight ends). He has no touchdowns and five picks on first-down plays from 21 personnel.
2010 Matt Hasselbeck by Down, Personnel Group: Weeks 1-18
Minimum 10 pass attempts by down and grouping.