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Saturday, November 7, 2009
Houshmandzadeh pays off -- until third down

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The rapport between Matt Hasselbeck and T.J. Houshmandzadeh spans first and second down, apparently.

The charts, produced by Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Information, break down Hasselbeck's passer ratings by receiver and situation. The first chart isolates first and second downs, where targeting Houshmandzadeh -- and quite a few others -- has paid off nicely for the veteran quarterback.
Matt Hasselbeck's passer rating differential by receiver on first and second downs
Receiver Times targeted Passer Rating Rating to other receivers
Differential
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
26 108.3 91.0 +17.3
Justin Forsett
2 110.4 94.4 +16.0
John Carlson
20
106.0 92.7 +13.4
Nate Burleson
27
104.6 92.0 +12.5
Justin Griffith
5
104.2 93.4 +10.7
Edgerrin James
1
95.8 94.9 +0.9
Julius Jones
7
95.2 94.6 +0.6
Seneca Wallace
2
93.8 95.1 -1.3
Owen Schmitt
1
79.2 95.0 -15.9
Deion Branch
10
60.4 98.5 -38.1
Deon Butler
3 50.7 96.3 -45.6
John Owens
3
39.6 97.6 -58.1

The second chart isolates third down. Hasselbeck's rating when throwing to Houshmandzadeh drops from 108.3 on early downs to 39.6 on third down. His rating when throwing to Houshmandzadeh on third down also lags dramatically relative to his third-down rating when targeting other Seattle players. Perhaps defenses pay special attention to Houshmandzadeh on third down. The pass Arizona's Antrel Rolle picked off against Hasselbeck -- the one when Houshmandzadeh waved at the ball as it sailed too long -- came on third down.
Matt Hasselbeck's passer rating differential by receiver on third down
Receiver Times targeted Passer Rating Rating to other receivers
Differential
Deion Branch
4 112.5 55.3 +57.2
Ben Obomanu
1 112.5 63.5 +49.0
John Carlson
6 97.2 59.7 +37.5
Nate Burleson
12 91.0 54.5 +36.4
Edgerrin James
1 91.7 64.1 +27.6
Deon Butler
2 58.3 65.5 -7.2
Justin Forsett
3 52.1 66.2 -14.1
Justin Griffith
1 39.6 66.8 -27.2
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
9 39.6 88.2 -51.6

Deion Branch probably hasn't played enough to analyze across these situations, but if Hasselbeck or anyone else needs to know where to find him, Branch has proved willing to help.