This is a big game for Aaron Curry. He needs to create strong side pressure on blitzes and hold his own in coverage. No one is or should be close to giving up on Curry. Kid has the kind of talent that, if he was still struggling in his third season, I wouldn't count out a breakout fourth season. But Curry is not just a prospect, he's a starter, and the Seahawks need contributions now.
There was a lot of talk about the Seahawks pass rush amping up against the 49ers, but much of that was favorable game state allowing the Seahawks to pin their ears back. In terms of sacks, Smith easily outperformed his career average, 7.9%, and his career best last season, 5.6%, with only two sacks taken in 47 attempts, 4.3%. The second sack was a garbage time gimme landed by Dexter Davis. Rush just wasn't there for most of the game, and Smith's relatively high completion percentage, 57.8%, despite his very poor accuracy, speaks of a player that had time to find an open receiver.
Chris Clemons faces the hobbled big man, Ryan Clady. Depending on Clady's health, that could be a very favorable matchup or a pass rush black hole. Whatever the case, Seattle needs pass rush from other players, and unless Big Red Bryant works over Zane Beadles in historic fashion, that probably comes down to Curry.
Seattle won without a great deal of pass rush last week. It won through stiff red zone defense, timely turnovers and a functional offense. Every season, some team rides that formula into the playoffs. Seattle in 2007. The Dolphins in 2008. The Bengals in 2009. None of those teams were anything like a true contender. If Seattle wants more than a semi-legit playoff bid built off the back of a excruciatingly bad division, it needs something else, a better pass rush, or a better run game, something, anything that wins games.
Win today, and the playoffs seem very attainable.