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What you see is what you get

It'll be Geno Smith at quarterback for the Seahawks on Sunday against the Steelers, not Russell Wilson.

But to Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler, it might just as well be Matt Hasselbeck, Rick Mirer or David Kreig.

"We're 2-3 and that's the emphasis," Butler insisted this morning. "We gotta get to 3-3. We can't get way behind on this deal because we play in a tough division. If you look at what the other guys in our division are doing, to keep up with them we can't mess around. We gotta win some games. We don't have any leeway or days off or anything like that. That's not gonna happen with us because we can't afford it and get in the playoffs. The biggest thing is, what is our record? It's 2-3, it's not dadgum 5-1 or 6-0 or something like that, so we gotta play.

"It doesn't matter who's over there. It's all about what we do and how successful we are in terms of trying to do what we're trying to do defensively."

The suspicion on the part of the Steelers is the Seahawks will try to do what they've always done offensively with Smith, an eighth-year pro who is set to become the first player not named Russell Wilson to start at quarterback for Seattle since Jan. 1, 2012 (Tarvaris Jackson at Arizona).

Wilson's streak of 149 consecutive starts is the sixth-longest in NFL history.

The run is 165 straight games including playoffs.

Smith, 31, has made 31 career starts but none since his last such assignment on Dec. 3, 2017 (for the New York Football Giants at Oakland).

Smith made 29 of his 31 starts in his first two NFL seasons (2013 and 2014 with the New York Jets).

He's in his second season with the Seahawks.

The 25 offensive snaps Smith ran against the Rams upped his career total in Seattle to 43.

"He hasn't played a lot of plays so we're guessing a little bit," Butler acknowledged.

At 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds, Smith possesses mobility and arm talent.

Upon replacing Wilson in the fourth quarter of a 26-17 loss to the Rams on Oct. 7, he completed 10 of 17 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown (a 23-yard strike to wide receiver DK Metcalf that completed a 10-play, 98-yard drive) and one interception (wide receiver Tyler Lockett fell down). Smith worked from under center and in the shotgun, stepped up in the pocket against the blitz, rolled out and threw on the run, scrambled when he had to and drove the ball down the field when he threw it.

He targeted seven different players and completed passes to six of them.

"If we lose a guy on defense we don't change a whole lot, because if you change a whole lot then everybody's gotta remember something else," Butler said. "And if you gotta remember something else you're gonna make mental mistakes. And if you make mental mistakes it's gonna screw everybody up.

"So I think they'll try to stay with what they do offensively."

With the potential exception of what helped close out a 28-26 victory over the Steelers on Sept. 15, 2018, Seattle's previous visit to Heinz Field and the most recent meeting between the teams.

The Seahawks got the ball back with 5:34 left in regulation after the Steelers had closed to within two. They kept it for the remainder of the game thanks in no small part to Wilson running for 10 yards on second-and-9 with 3:34 remaining, for 9 yards on second-and-7 with 2:21 to go and for 15 yards on third-and-16 with 2:11 left on the clock (running back Chris Carson converted the subsequent fourth-and-1 and Wilson took three knees to end it).

It was the type of improvisational play-making at the critical juncture of a game for which Wilson has become famous.

It might also be more than the Seahawks can reasonably ask of Smith this time.

"The guy they had before him probably knows the offense a little bit better and will take off running and have a little bit more leeway in terms of what they were trying to run, checks and stuff," Butler said.

"He's probably gonna be a little more by the book than Russell was."