Fooch's Note: Thanks to mountaindew77 for putting together this Madden simulation of the 49ers-Chargers matchup. It's not a pretty result so let's just hope it's not the most accurate heading into tomorrow night's matchup.
Hello Niner Nation, and welcome to another installment of the Madden "simulation." Before I say anything else, I want to let everyone know that I in no way, shape, or form believe these "simulations" to be any indication of what will happen in real life. Madden is a video game after all, and these posts are just for fun.
With that said, let's do this thing. The game is Madden NFL 11 on Xbox 360. I will simulate it with 14 minute quarters and 25 second play-clock run off to get the most realistic amount of plays possible. The game is set on All-Pro difficulty. I watch the game, provide a sort of play-by-play commentary for you folks reading.
The opening kickoff is taken by Ted Ginn to the 27 yard line where the first offensive drive for the Niners will start. On 1st down, Alex Smith drops back out of the I-Formation and tries to hit Crabtree in one-on-one coverage, but it is batted down by Quentin Jammer. On 2nd down the Niners come out in Shotgun, but it is a draw play to Westbrook who tries to break it out right but is brought down at the line of scrimmage. 3rd and 10. Again out of the Shotgun, Smith takes the snap, looks around and throws it deep for Crabtree again and... He's got it! A beautiful turnaround catch on the 41 yard completion and the 49ers are on the Chargers 32 yard line. On 1st and 10 the 49ers again stay in the Shotgun. Smith takes the snap, stands in the pocket for far too long, and tries to force a throw to Kyle Williams and it's picked off by Eric Weddle. So much for that.
The Chargers start their first drive on their own 32. On 1st down it's a play-action to Mike Tolbert... and Philip Rivers hits a wide open Antonio Gates out to the left who runs up the sideline for a 21 yard gain into San Francisco territory. The Chargers hand off on 1st down to Tolbert who meets Patrick Willis for the first time and gets a 2 yard gain. On 2nd down the Chargers come out in the Shotgun, but run a draw play. Tolbert is again met immediately by Willis, but he shakes him off. Luckily Franklin is right behind to stuff him for a loss of 3 though. 3rd and 11. Rivers drops back, sees Floyd open in the middle... Floyd catches it, but Reggie Smith hits him immediately and forces Floyd to drop it. Incomplete! The Chargers elect to punt from the SF 48. Ginn allows the punt to bounce and it's a touchback.
The 49ers start their second drive on 1st and 10 from their own 20. It's a handoff to Westbrook up the middle for 3 yards. Out of the Shotgun on 2nd down Smith hits Ginn on the slant route over the middle for an 8 yard gain and a 1st down. From their own 31, Smith drops back and tries to throw it up for Morgan down the left sideline, but he was hit and the ball was way overthrown. 2nd and 10. Norris motions to the right, and Westbrook gets the handoff for a gain of 2. 3rd and 8. Smith drops back, sees nothing that he likes and throws his infamous check down pass, but Williams catches it out of bounds. Andy Lee with a nice punt and Sproles returns it for 3 yards and the Chargers start on their own 21.
1st and 10. Rivers drops back, Lawson blitzes the right side and comes in untouched, forcing Rivers to check down to Gates for 2 yards. 2nd and 8. Rivers doesn't like what he sees and audibles... He drops back, has absolutely no pressure from the 3 man rush, hits Legedu Naanee out to the right who breaks a couple tackles and makes it out to the 35. 1st down. Tolbert hits a wide open hole and sees daylight. He is not touched until the Niners' 35 and makes it out to the 31 for a 34 yard run. Ugh. Rivers pitches out to Tolbert to the right, but is immediately brought down by Willis for a 1 yard loss. Sproles is subbed in at RB and gets the handoff, but again to no avail, as Parys Haralson brings him down for no gain. 3rd and 11 and we need a stop. Rivers takes the snap out of the Shotgun, tries to hit Gates on the out route, but Nate Clements has him blanketed and drops the easy pick! That would have been a pick 6. The kicking unit comes out and Nate Kaeding drills the 47 yard FG and makes the game 0-3 with 3:51 left in the first.
Ginn takes the return back to the 29.The Niners come out on 1st down in the Shotgun, 4WR set. Smith throws it out left to Ginn on the deep curl route for a nice 15 yard gain and a 49er 1st down. From their own 44, they run a screen play out to Westbrook who is dropped immediately for a 1 yard loss. Good call, poor execution. They come out on 2nd down in the Taser...? Westbrook takes the snap but gets nowhere and it's another 3 yard loss. Bad call, worse exectution. Smith drops back on 3rd down, has little time and tries to throw it while he's hit, but it's batted down. Worst set of downs ever. The Almighty Andy Lee boots another nice punt Sproles lets it bounce... and it takes a wonderful bounce and sits at the 5 yard line where Will James picks it up.
1st and 10 from their own 5. Rivers drops back, and hits a wide open Vincent Jackson over the middle for a 25 yard gain... So much for that punt. After looking at the replay, Jackson just made Spencer look silly at the line of scrimmage and that's how he got open. From their 30, they hand off to Tolbert who again has a gaping hole and isn't brought down until the Niners' 48. A 22 yard run. Rivers with the play action... gets no pressure from the 4 man rush, throws it deep to Floyd in one-on-one coverage. Reggie Smith doesn't even turn around, and by the time he does, Floyd has it for the touchdown. 3 plays, 95 yards, 1:14 drive. This could get ugly. 0-10 Chargers, and that will end the 1st quarter.
Ginn takes the kickoff to the 29. On 1st down, Norris motions right, Smith hands off to Westbrook who tries to cut up field but is stopped for a measly 1 yard gain. 2nd and 9. Smith escapes from pressure and throws it out to Ginn who is covered well and the ball is batted away. 3rd and 9. Out of the Shotgun, Smith takes the snap looks around and ... throws it away? He wasn't even pressured. This is heading south quickly. Andy Lee does his thing and Sproles gets a 2 yard return to the Chargers 27.
On 1st down, Rivers throws over the middle to Jackson for an 18 yard gain to the 45. Mike Tolbert breaks a tackle and fights his way to a 5 yard gain. 2nd and 5. Rivers throws it out to McMichael on the flat who catches it for a 6 yard gain and a 1st down, ball at the SF 45. It's a pitch out left to Tolbert, who absolutely bulldozes Takeo Spikes and then stumbles his way to a 10 yard gain and it's 2nd and inches. Tolbert up the gut again for another 8 yard gain and a 1st down. Can this guy be stopped?? Play-action to Sproles, Rivers steps up and Lawson nails him as he throws and the ball falls incomplete. 2nd and 10. Naanee with the slant across the middle and Rivers hits him and he gets stopped inches short of the 1st down at the 17. On 3rd and inches Lawson comes in untouched again, but Rivers just gets it out to Gates in the flat who makes a great over-the-shoulder catch for a 2 yard gain and another San Diego 1st down. Tolbert runs up the middle for another 9 yard gain. This tackling performance is horrendous. On 2nd and short Rivers drops back, but Patrick Willis comes in unscathed, and Rivers barely gets to throw the ball but it falls incomplete. That hit from Bam Bam was brutal though. On 3rd and 1 at the 6, Rivers drops back, hits a wide open Antonio Gates out right on the flat, and he walks in the touchdown... 0-17 Chargers.
Ginn gets to the 24 yard line on the return. Vernon Davis motions out left, Smith takes the snap, hits Davis out left... He takes a few steps and Antoine Cason strips Vernon Davis of the ball! Antwan Applewhite picks it up and returns it back to the SF 34. Even when they get a play right, it goes wrong.
1st down on the ensuing drive, Rivers takes it out of the Shotgun, feels pressure from his right, and misses his target, Tolbert. A rarity. 2nd and 10. Rivers out of the Shotgun. Has some time in the pocket, but can't find anyone. By the time he does attempt to throw it, Justin Smith has him and the ball falls incomplete. 3rd and 10. Rivers catches the snap with one hand, hits Sproles on the curl route in the middle, but Tarrell Brown knocks it out of his hands and it is the 3rd straight incompletion for Philip Rivers. Nate Kaeding and the FG unit come out for a long 51 yard field goal. It's a line drive and... it's good. 0-20 Chargers. The Niners better do something before half if they want any shot at this game.
Ginn gets the return out to the 25, where he gets drilled by Kevin Burnett. On 1st down the Niners get lined up, and a flag comes out. False start on Anthony Davis. Come on rookie you're not helping! 1st and 15 from the 20. Alex out of the Shotgun. It's a draw to Westbrook who finds a hole... and there's no one in front of him! HE! COULD! GO! ALL! THE WAY! TOUCHDOWN 49ERS!!!! But wait... there's a flag..... The official announces clipping on the offense. Only you Niners. Only you. It was a stupid penalty too because Westbrook was 7 yards ahead of everyone when Vernon tripped the guy up. Luckily the penalty only brings it back to midfield, but that still hurts. Out of the Gun, Smith has a nice wide pocket and hits Crabtree who makes a nice run after the catch for a 15 yard completion and a 49er 1st down. From the SD 35, it's another draw to Westbrook out of the Gun for a 7 yard gain. 2nd and 3. Out of the Singleback formation, Alex pitches out left to Westbrook, who tries to get outside, and gets a 2 yard gain and that brings up a big 3rd and inches. Dixon comes in on 3rd down and gets the handoff. He breaks through the line for the 1st down and then some as he fights his way for a nice 12 yard gain. That's Fooch's guy! The Niners hurry back to the line for some reason with 3:17 left in the half. They get in the Gun, Smith gets nice protection from his line again, and finds Moran Norris out left for a 12 yard gain to the 1 yard line. The Niners come out in the I-Formation with 2 TE's on the line. But it's a pass, as Smith tries to hit Ginn, but the ball is deflected by Antoine Cason. On 2nd down it's the same formation, but this time Anthony Dixon gets the handoff, runs over a defender, and is in for the touchdown!!! The Niners are on the board. 7-20 with 2:28 left in the half.
Sproles returns the ensuing kickoff to the 28. Rivers runs the draw to Tolbert on 1st down out of the gun, but Patrick Willis will have none of that and stuffs him for a 3 yard loss. 2nd and 13. Out of the Gun again, Rivers dumps it off to Tolbert who fights his way for 13 yards and a 1st down. They run the hurry up and get back to the line. Rivers stands for far too long in the pocket and gets hit from behind by Aubrayo Franklin on what looks like a fumble, but his arm was apparently going forward and it's incomplete. 2nd and 10. Out of the Shotgun, Rivers gets the snap. Tarrell Brown comes in on the corner blitz, and Rivers tries to get it out to an open Vincent Jackson... but Brown jumps and makes a nice deflection. 3rd and 10 from the 40. Rivers takes the snap, doesn't like what he sees and checks down to Jacob Hester who runs out of bounds for a 1 yard gain and stops the clock at 1:31 on 4th down. The Niners still have all of their timeouts. Scifres boots an awful punt off the side of his foot and the ball goes out at the 49er 37. We could be in business.
On 1st down, Smith takes the snap out of the shotgun, gets nice protection, and throws a deep ball... Ginn jumps up for the catch... and it gets batted out of his hands as he went up. It appears Alex took too long to throw it as it was nowhere near in-stride for Ginn. On 2nd down the 49ers stick with the spread. Smith feels the pressure from the right, gets it out to Ginn, but he has to come to his knees to catch it and is immediately touched for no gain. 3rd and 10. Out of the hurry up, Smith looks around, sees Crabtree in one-on-one coverage. He throws it up, Crabtree turns around and jumps... and he catches it! He was even able to hang on after Weddle collided with him in midair. What a beautiful play by Crabs and the Niners are down to the San Diego 34 yard line. Continuing out of the Shotgun, Smith hits Morgan out right on a short curl for a 5 yard gain. On 2nd and 5 Smith rolls out to the right, tries to force a pass into Crabtree and it's deflected by Quentin Jammer. A crucial 3rd down coming up. Vernon Davis motions to the left side. Smith has some time, has Morgan out to the right, but throws it way over his head in Alex Smith fashion. Jeff Reed comes out for the 46 yard FG. He nails it through the uprights and he is still perfect as a 49er. A somewhat disappointing end to a drive that could have potentially put the Niners one score out. 10-20 Chargers with :36 left in the half.
Sproles takes the kickoff back the the 27, and the Chargers will run out the clock and go into halftime with a 10 point lead.
Well this game was ugly right from the opening drive, with the offense starting off anemic, and the defense unable to stop Philip Rivers, Mike Tolbert, and the rest of the Chargers' offense. Things looked downright hopeless when the Niners went down 0-20 early, but they have since been fighting back, as the offense seems to have got some life. The defense will have to step up in the second half and the offense has to keep the momentum going if the 49ers want a chance to win this game. Back to myself in the booth.
The Chargers get the ball to start the second half and the rookie Seyi Ajirotutu takes the kickoff. He runs out right, sheds a tackler, and makes a nice return out to the 40, but there is a flag. Holding on the kicking team. Phew. The Chargers will instead start from their own 23. On 1st down the Chargers come out in the Shotgun, Rivers looks to pass, throws a bomb deep down the middle for Seyi Ajirotutu... and he makes the wide open catch for a 49 yard pass and San Diego is already at the SF 28. On the ensuing play Rivers looks to throw again, but Haralson hits him as he throws it and Spencer is able to jump out in front of Vincent Jackson and knock it away. On 2nd down San Diego commits a false start and it's 2nd and 15. Rivers drops back, hits Malcom Floyd on the short pass to the right and he runs for a gain of 11. 3rd and 4. Rivers drops back, tries to get It out to Antonio Gates on the curl, but Ray McDonald lowers a shoulder into the chest of Rivers and the ball falls way in front of Gates. 4th down. Kaeding nails the 39 yard field goal and it's 10-23 Chargers with 13:12 left in the 3rd.
Kyle Williams collects the return and takes it to the 26. On 1st down Delanie Walker motions right, Alex pitches it out left to Westbrook, who gets absolutely smashed by Kevin Burnett. 2nd and 11. Smith drops back, has Vernon on the crossing route, but he doesn't even turn his head and it's incomplete. 3rd down and this is not looking good. Out of the Gun, Smith has Morgan crossing the field... and he hits him for the 13 yard gain and a 49er first down! 1st down from the 38, San Francisco comes out in the Gun, Smith stands around for entirely too long, finally decides to throw it, but gets nailed as he throws. The hit causes an errant throw and it falls into Stephen Cooper's lap for the easy pick. To add insult to injury, Vernon Davis grabbed the facemask of Cooper on the tackle, and the Chargers have the ball at SF's 27.
Rivers drops back and hits Naanee over the middle for the easy completion and SD is at the 8 yard line and ready to put the game away. Tolbert gets the ball up the middle, makes a couple moves and easily scores the TD. The 2-point conversion failed however, and it's now 10-29 Chargers.
Williams returns the kickoff to the 26. The Niners elect to handoff on first down and Westbrook gains 6 yards. On 2nd down, it is yet another run, and Westbrook is stuffed by Phillips for a loss of one yard... They do know we're down by 19 points, right? The Niners come out in the Singleback, 4WR set, and Smith finds Ginn out to the right who fights his way for a 1st down. Ginn has got a lot of catches today it seems. Just 4, actually. A lot for him I suppose. On 1st and 10 from the 37, Dixon gets the handoff up the middle and gets stuffed by Burnett for a gain of 2. On 2nd and 8, Smith hands off to Dixon again on a draw, and he gains nothing... again. This play-calling is bass ackwards. 3rd and 8, and Smith connects with Josh Morgan over the middle, but he is only able to pick up 6 and it's 4th down. Andy Lee boots the punt out of the end zone.
1st and 10, and the Chargers are in the Gun. Rivers catches the snap, gets hit as he tries to throw, and the ball bounces off Vincent Jackson's head for the incompletion. On 2nd down, Vincent Jackson makes Spencer look silly yet again, getting wide open with no safety help, and Rivers connects with Jackson who sheds Spencer off, and has no one else to stop him. Touchdown Chargers on the 80 yard pass. That'll do ‘er folks. Nothing to see here. 10-36 Chargers.
Ginn takes the kickoff and finally has a decent return, taking it to the 43. Little late there, Teddy. The 49ers officially give up and hand off the first 2 downs to Westbrook for a total of 9 yards. 3rd and 1. Smith with the play-action... Rolls right, sees a man downfield... But is unable to get the pass off as Phillips brings him down for the sack and a loss of 8. Worst. Playcalling. Ever. Andy Lee has the play of the game, as he is able to stick a punt literally inches from the goal line. MVP.
Jacob Hester gets the handoff on 1st down and easily picks up 5 yards. 2nd and 5 and Tolbert gets the run this time, picking up 4 yards leaving 3rd and inches. Tolbert will get the handoff again and picks up 6 yards and a first down. On 1st down with 4 seconds left in the quarter the Chargers elect to throw and Rivers connects with Randy McMichael for no gain. That will finish off the quarter.
Tolbert runs for a gain of 2 on 2nd and 8. Rivers connects with a wide open Malcom Floyd for the easy 1st down. Philip Rivers is not yet done embarrassing the 49ers, as he hits Naanee for a 22 yard gain on 1st down. I sure do miss Norv Turner. From the SF 44, it is yet another throw, this time to Jacob Hester in the flat for an 11 yard gain and another first down. The Chargers run a play-action, and Rivers rolls out right. He stands around for what seems like 10 minutes and Patrick Willis finally gets pissed off and goes to hit him. Rivers is apparently blind and does not see Willis in his face and he gets punished. Incomplete pass. 2nd and 10. Another play-action, Rivers does some sort of dance in the pocket, and throws it incomplete. The Chargers finally elect to run and Sproles gets the carry. He gets 9 yards downfield and the ball is stripped. It is recovered at the bottom of a pile by Will James. Yippee.
Westbrook runs up the middle for 3 on 1st down. 2nd and 7 from the 28. Smith does some sort of QB keeper out of the Gun and gets blasted for a 2 yard loss. On 3rd and 10 Crabtree makes a nice sideline grab for a 1st down to the 36. Dixon gets the carry to the right, sheds a tackler for a 6 yard gain. Smith drops back on 2nd down, gets about 3 defenders in his face in a matter of 2 seconds and throws a desperation ball for Walker deep downfield. Quentin Jammer jumps in front of it for what should have been an easy pick, but it's incomplete. 3rd and 4 from the 41. Donald Strickland comes from the right on the corner blitz, and torches Alex Smith, driving him into the ground for the sack. The Niners will go for it on 4th and 14 from their own 32. Smith looks around, heaves up a ball deep downfield for Ginn. He jumps up... and grabs it. No one is able to bring him down and he scores on the 68 yard pass from Smith. Yippee. 17-36 Chargers with 8:43 remaining.
The Chargers start on their own 29. They run yet another play-action, Rivers throws it out to Hester who Clements wraps up quickly for a 1 yard loss. Out of the Shotgun (lol) it's a draw play to Tolbert for 3 yards. On 3rd and 8 Sproles gets a few nice blocks and picks up 15 yards and a 1st down with ease. Tolbert gets gains of 6 and 1 on the next 2 plays. 3rd and 3 on their own 48. Sproles picks up 2 yards and it's 4th and 1. The 49er fans in the crowd are still excited, anticipating a 19 point comeback with 3:28 left to play. Scifres kicks it out of bounds at the 49er 26. On 1st and 10, Smith drops back, sees nothing downfield, and runs for 11 yards and a 1st down. Smith gets sacked for a loss of 10 on the next play, and on 2nd down gets brought down for a 1 yard gain after attempting to run. On 3rd and 19 he connects with Ted Ginn for a 14 yard gain. On 4th and 5 Alex throws a desperation pass downfield, but it is knocked down. Turnover on downs.
Tolbert comes out on the ensuing drive with runs for 0, 3, and 6 yards as the Chargers expire the clock and put this one in the books.
SF 0 | 10 | 0 | 7 - 17
SD 10 | 10 | 16 | 0 - 36
Old Spice Swagger Player of the Game - Philip Rivers, of course. He made the 49er secondary look silly.
286 Total Offense 534
61 Rushing Yards 160
225 Passing Yards 374
11 First Downs 17
3 Turnovers 1
6-14 3rd Down Conv. 5-13
25:34 TOP 34:26
QB Philip Rivers - 21/35 60% 374 YDS 3 TD 0 INT 125.1 QB RATING
QB Alex Smith - 16/31 51% 257 YDS 1 TD 2 INT 63.5 QB RATING
HB Mike Tolbert - 21 ATT 127 YDS 6.0 YPC
HB Brian Westbrook - 13 ATT 29 YDS 2.2 YPC HB Anthony Dixon - 5 ATT 20 YDS 1 TD
WR Vincent Jackson - 3 REC 124 YDS 1 TD
WR Malcom Floyd - 3 REC 74 YDS 1 TD
WR Ted Ginn Jr. - 6 REC 111 YDS 1 TD
WR Michael Crabtree - 4 REC 97 YDS
LB Patrick Willis - 8 TKL 3 TFL
LB Stephen Cooper - 5 TKL 1 SACK 1 INT
As I mentioned at halftime, if the Niners couldn't somehow find a way to stop Philip Rivers, there was no chance. Rivers had his way with the 49ers' secondary and Mike Tolbert made the usually stout 49er run defense look silly. At least this was just Madden. Let's hope for much better results on Thursday.