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49ers-Packers: The World According to Madden

Aaaand, I'm back on for the Saturday Simulation of the Sunday games. Fooch sent me an email and my replacement er... needed a replacement, so you're back to reading my colorful commentary! Basically I put in Madden NFL 10 for the Xbox 360 and set it to All-Madden and spectate a game in its entirety and provide commentary. Now, Madden isn't a perfect simulation, but it is a step up from past installments and this is just an interesting take on things as opposed to a raw simulation.

The latest roster update for the game actually occurred either late last night or early this morning and I've got it. I took the liberty of moving a few players out of the lineup and switched around some of the depth to make it more accurate. For instance Nate Clements was still in the lineup, now he's off the depth chart. The WRs were a bit out of order but after #1 and #2 it's hard to distinguish who goes where anyway.  Currently I have Isaac Bruce at #3 and Jason Hill at #4. Arnaz Battle will likely only see the field on returns.

Before I begin let me just express my gratitude to the folks who do the roster updates, the big guy Aubrayo Franklin got his second boost in as many updates! When Madden NFL 10 shipped Aubrayo Franklin was rated a measly 66 overall, the lowest starting NT in the game. An average starter is around 76-78. With the update a few weeks ago Franklin got some recognition and went up to 79, and much to my (awesome) surprise when I got on today Franklin was updated all the way to 88! Lets see how he performs...


49ers First Drive The Niners win the toss and elect to receive. Robinson takes it and downs the ball for a touchback. Alex Smith leads the 49ers out to the 20-yard line. It's a handoff to the right side and Frank Gore takes it with superb blocking 12 yards before being taken down. 1st and 10 and the team lines up in I formation. Gore takes another handoff and looks to be good for another ten yards but FB Moran Norris misses a block and Frank is dragged down after five yards bringing up 2nd and 5. From the offset I formation Vernon Davis motions to the right side and it's another handoff to Frank Gore... nope, it's a play action pass as Smith avoids a sack and delivers a high ball to WR Michael Crabtree who goes up and snags it between two defenders and gets a couple YAC. After the 30-yard gain the 49ers set up 1st and 10at the Packers 33 yard line.

The next play is a run to the left side but Gore is hit in the backfield for a one yard loss. On 2nd and 11 Vernon Davis motions out wide and Smith takes the snap. After about six seconds the coverage refuses to break down and Smith takes off running before getting hit and fumbling the ball! It's a pile and it takes a good ten seconds for everyone to get up to reveal Frank Gore at the bottom with the ball. The 49ers maintain possession which takes us to 3rd and 11. From the shotgun Smith takes the snap, stands in the midst of pressure and delivers a promising strike to WR Isaac Bruce .The ball is thrown perfectly and goes right into Bruce's hands... and right out of them. Incomplete pass, which brings on the 49ers field goal unit on the Packers 34 yard line. Kicking with the wind, Joe Nedney belts the 51-yard field goal and the Niners are up 3-0.

Packers First Drive Joe Nedney kicks off and the ball is taken in the end zone by Packers WR Jordy Nelson who gets it to the 28-yard line before being brought down by Marcus Hudson. Aaron Rodgers takes the Packers first snap and stands in the pocket, the 49ers get instant pressure but Rodgers still manages to find WR Greg Jennings who turns a 13-yard reception into a 19-yard gain bringing up a Packers 1st down. From 1st and 10 HB Ryan Grant takes the handoff to the right side and gets hammered in the backfield by LB Patrick Willis for a two yard loss. From second down, Rodgers hits WR Donald Driver on a quick inside slant for 15 yards and a Packers first down.

Once again on first down the Packers handoff to Ryan Grant who is hit first by Patrick Willis on the right side before being put on his back by LB Manny Lawson for a 3-yard loss bringing up 2nd and 13. At this point the 49ers secondary needs to make some adjustments. This play is another run, a HB draw which at first looks to be succesful before Justin Smith snags ahold of Grant and Takeo Spikes lays him out with a big hit after being wrapped up. With the 2-yard gain the Packers get to 3rd and 11.

Rodgers takes the 3rd down snap and hits TE Jermichael Finley on the inside slant. It is an 8-yard gain as he is tackled immediately bringing on the Packers field goal unit. They nail it, 51 yards the same as the 49ers and the game is tied at 3-3.

Next Possession The Packers kick off and once again HB Michael Robinson kneels for a touchback. From the offset I formation Vernon Davis motions to the right side and the Packers adjust their coverage, from the get-go it's clear the 49ers are running it and the Pack' throws extra men to Vernon's side knowing his blocking skills, but the 49ers run a misdirection and Frank Gore takes off to the left side, breaking tackles from both Collins and Harris he runs down the sideline 30-yards before being brought down from a good angle at the 50-yard line setting up a 49ers 1st down.

On the next play the 49ers go singleback with four wide receivers out on the field. Crabtree and Hill on the right side with Bruce and Morgan on the left, Alex Smith takes the snap. It's a pitch to Gore on the right side! Hill and Crabtree have already taken a few defenders with them to the left side of the field and Gore runs east and west for a few seconds to give... what?! RG Chilo Rachal time to run out and make a crushing block in space on a Packers defender at which point 21 turns upfield and looks to be gone before Atari Bigby makes an ankle tackle after 11-yards. The 49ers set up at the Packers 39-yard line.

Off of first down Alex Smith hits TE Vernon Davis in stride over the middle who takes off upfield on the left side being chased by two defenders. Once again the angle prevails and the Packers force him out of bounds. Davis took a 5-yard reception and turned it into a 24-yard gain. 1st and 10 at the Packers 14-yard line. The 49ers handoff to Gore on first down who pushes a pile of tacklers four yards bringing up 2nd and 6. The next play is a two yard run by HB Glen Coffee to the right side for some reason. 3rd and 4 to go now. From a two tight end set HB Michael Robinson is out on the field. Alex Smith takes the snap and has plenty of time. Vernon Davis is causing havoc in the end zone and Delanie Walker is blocking fiercly. WR Michael Crabtree is open for a split second and that causes the Packers SS to panic and strafe in that direction leaving... HB Michael Robinson open near the first down marker, whom Alex Smith promptly hits and leads out of bounds at the 4-yard line for a 1st and goal!

QB Alex Smith takes the snap and Frank Gore stays in and picks up a defensive end blitz. Smith has just enough time to find TE Vernon Davis between three defenders in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass. The extra point is good and the 49ers lead the Packers 10-3.

Next (Packers) Possession The ball is downed in the end zone after the kickoff and the Packers set up at their own 20-yard line. Rodgers takes the snap from the shotgun and once again makes use of the inside slant, this time hitting WR James Jones for 13-yards before getting a yard and tackled by CB Tarell Brown. 1st and 10 and Rodgers hands off the Ryan Grant from the I formation, who picks up three yards before being tackled by LB Takeo Spikes. The next play is a run to the left after motion goes that way, and Grant picks up one yard before being smothered by Justin Smith.

The next two plays are passes to WR Jones who gets the first down on the first pass on the right sideline with nobody around, and the second is a two yard gain before getting hit very hard by CB Shawntae Spencer. The Packers set up with 2nd and 8. With six seconds left in the quarter Rodgers takes the snap before his line completely crumbles and LE Isaac Sopoaga breaks through and gets the first sack of the game. Rodgers fumbles the ball, but it is picked up by the lineman Tauscher. At the end of the first quarter the 49ers lead 10-3.

2nd Quarter

Starting the quarter at 3rd and 9 Rodgers takes the snap out of the shotgun. As soon as the play starts I know they're going to pick up the first even before he throws the ball to Nelson for an 11-yard pickup over the middle. Ryan Grant gets his biggest run of the day on first down as he turns his total rushing yards of the game into seven with a 6-yard pickup to the left side. Grant then takes the ball up to the right inside of the line and looks to be just short of the first down. The chain gang comes out to measure and the Packers are about two feet away from the first down, bringing up 3rd and 1. Off of the play action, Rodgers makes short work of the 49ers secondary by, what do you know, a 13-yard gain on an inside slant to Donald Driver bringing up a 1st and 10. Make that 1st and goal after a ten yard reception by James Jones and the Packers are threatening to score.

Demetric Evans makes the stop on the first down run to Ryan Grant which goes nowhere. Off of the play action the Packers hit FB Kuhn on the flat who is immediately hit by CB Tarell Brown... who apparently forgets how to tackle and lets the FB score on a 4-yard touchdown. The Packers get the extra point and the game is tied again at 10-10.

Next Possession Michael Robinson takes this kick from the back of the end zone and gets to the 21-yard line before going down after not trying too hard to avoid a tackle. Alex Smith leads the offense out there once again and hands the ball off to Frank Gore who gets two yards on the right side on the run blitz. From the shotgun Smith hits Isaac Bruce for a couple of yards but the play is called back after Frank Gore is called for holding. The Niners now face 2nd and 18. Smith takes the snap and drops back, the protection is good but starts to break down, Smith steps up in the pocket and the line adjusts and keeps him protected. Smith has a man downfied and throws a bomb before getting hit hard. The ball travels about 50 yards through the air and is brought in by WR Isaac Bruce! Bruce didn't have his defender beat, he just had better hands. The Niners set up with 1st and 10 from the Packers 33 yard line.

The next play Alex Smith takes the snap and stares down a receiver. He looks good, and then remembers that he's Alex Smith and decided to pretty much throw a shovel pass right into the hands of Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly who gets the interception and goes down instantly. Amazing.

After The Turnover... From their own 36 yard line the Packers set up shop. Rodger takes the snap and throws a short pass to Lee for a 3-yard gain. The next pass is to James Jones for a five yard gain before being brought down by CB Shawntae Spencer. On the next play Ryan Grant picks up the first down on a four yard run. Rodgers calls an audible on the next play and yet another tackle is missed after FB Kuhn once again catches the ball. Dashon Goldson wraps up air and Manny Lawson is forced to drag him down from behind after the FB picks up 20 yards.

On the first down pass Driver gets 10 yards and another first down. After a short pass the Packers get 2nd down. On the next play Aaron Rodgers throws a pass right to S Dashon Goldson in the end zone who drops the pick! 3rd down with 8 to go. Lee once again gets a reception off the slant and the chain gang has to come and measure but the Packers get the 1st. Another 10-yard gain and the Packers get ANOTHER first down off the slant. 1st and goal.

Kentwan Balmer stuffs Ryan Grant for no gain on 1st down. On second down Rodgers throws to Driver in the end zone but he can't stay in bounds. On third and two it's FB Kuhn once again off the play fake in the flat... for a touchdown. Packers lead 17-10 with 2:25 to go in the half.

Next Possession The kick goes through the end zone and the 49ers set up at their own 20 yard line. Off the play action to Gore, Smith passes to the very same, Gore for 9-yards over the middle. After the two minute warning it's Isaac Bruce over the middle for a gain. Alex Smith from 1st down tucks it,, runs, and slides down... for a loss of one. 2nd and 11 with 1:40 to go. The next pass is incomplete and doesn't even go near a wide receiver. Alex was virtually unpressured on the play. 3rd down and 11 to go. On the next play it's WR Michael Crabtree between two receivers who gets the first down and more, taking it to the Packers 46-yard line before being tackled. The 1st down pass is complete, but for no gain as Frank Gore goes out of bounds. 1:11 to go in the game on 2nd down and it's... a false start on TE Vernon Davis. 2nd and 15 not from their own 49-yard line. On a big five step drop Alex Smith steps up into the pocket and delivers a huge strike through the air over the middle. He's got WR Jason Hill deep who is being covered by a linebacker, Clay Matthews. Jason Hill catches the pass in stride and runs in for the 51-yard touchdown. The extra point ties the game at 17-17.

Next Possession Joe Nedney kicks off and Jackson runs it out of the end zone and is tackled at the 21-yard line. With 58 seconds left and all three timeouts the Packers offense comes out to the field. Looking for some YAC, the Packers throw a short pass to Lee but he is brought down immediately by Patrick Willis. They let the clock roll down as they are going to receive at the half, but have to get another play in without a kneeldown. From the shotgun, Rodgers takes the snap with 12 seconds left and hits WR Greg Jennings for ten yards.. and then the Packers take a timeout? McCarthy doesn't seem to understand the concept of running out the clock but whatever, with five seconds to go Rodgers takes the snap and throws another pass to Lee, which is picked off by Patrick Willis who is brought down immediately to end the half.

HALFTIME Aaron Rodgers is playing great football, he didn't miss a pass in the first quarter and only threw three incompletions in the entire first half. Alex Smith posted a better QB rating though with more yards on less completions. They both has a 2:1 TD to INT ratio with Rodgers last second pick. The Packers, as I figured, have yet to get a running game going. Missed tackles are a huge problem for the 49ers so far with a FB shredding them like it's no problem and getting 2 TD to boot. The Packers are 6-7 on 3rd downs, almost all of them being converted on the inside slant. The 49ers will kick off to start the half.

2nd Half

3rd Quarter With another touchback the Packers again set up at the 20-yard line. Ryan Grant takes a handoff to the left side with a four yard run, followed by another of the same gain. On the inside slant... you guessed it, Lee picks up the first down, followed by ANOTHER first down to Donald Driver off of... an inside slant. Christ almighty the 49ers can't do anything against that pass. 1st and 10 at the 49ers 48 yard line. Or can they? Rodgers steps back and almost lazily throws a strike to James Jones over the middle. Patrick Willis looked to be dropping to the right side but had his eyes on Rodgers the whole time and steps up nicely in front of Jones for his second interception of the game. Rodgers saw Spikes initially on Jones and thought he'd be fine.

After The Turnover... The Niners are at their own 47-yard line. On the right side Frank Gore picks up six yards on the outside. The 49ers give up their first sack of the game on second down to Aaron Kampman. On 3rd and 10 Smith drops back, has plenty of time but the coverage refuses to break down. He is brought down from behind on what is technically a 1-yard gain and the 49ers set up to punt.

After The Punt It goes through the endzone for a touchback and the Packers handoff to Ryan Grant, who gets hit for a one yard loss by Justin Smith. The next play is a screen to Grant but he is blown up by S Dashon Goldson for a three yard loss. From their own 16-yard line the Packers go from 3rd and 14. From the shotgun, Rodgers forces a throw to WR Donald Driver but CB Shawntae Spencer jumps the route and snatches the high pass out of the air for the 49ers third interception of the game.

After The Turnover... With excellent field position Alex Smith fakes to Frank Gore to the left side before turning and hitting WR Michael Crabtree on the inside slant, who proceeds to break a tackle and get a few extra yards before being brought down at 1st and goal after gaining 23 yards. From 1st and goal the Packers stack the line and Smith is hit as he throws and it falls incomplete. 2nd and goal from the 4 yard line and it's another fake to Gore. Smith stands with pressure in his face and throws high to TE Vernon Davis who snags it in his huge hands for his second touchdown of the game. The extra point is good and the 49ers lead 24-17.

Next Possession Nelson returns the kick to the 22-yard line. Ryan Grant gets four yards on the left side run and then loses a yard on an even wider left side run bringing up 3rd and 7. On the third down pass Jennings catches an inside slant but is cracked hard by Patrick Willis and drops it, making it incomplete. The Packers line up to punt. Brandon Jones gets about eight yards on the return.

After The Punt From the 41 yard line Smith drops back to pass and throws a pass right to a Packers defender, but he drops it and it falls incomplete. On the run to the right side Frank Gore is hit in the backfield and breaks two tackles. What should have been a five yard loss ends up being a 2-yard loss, but a loss nonetheless. Gore make up for it after catching a pass over the middle and converting the 3rd down. On third, Alex Smith rolls out and panics--he clearly has at least one receiver open but he caves and tucks the ball for a 9 yard sack from two Packers defenders. The 49ers exchange punts.

After Yet Another Punt The punt again goes through the end zone and Aaron Rodgers handsoff at the 20 yard line, but holding is called and the Packers line up at the 11. Greg Jennings catches on two 49ers defenders and picks up the 1st down and nothing more. Grant breaks a few tackles on the next handoff and gets six yards. Michael Lewis almost picks off a pass and the Packers get 3rd and 4. Rodgers is pressured badly on the next play and throws a deep incompletion. The Packers again punt.The 49ers line up to block it and almost get there. Jones muffs the punt but picks it up and gets to the 27-yard line,

Punts Punts Punts The first play is a 5-yard completion to Isaac Bruce and closes out the third quarter.

4th Quarter Alex Smith is sacked on the first play of the quarter by Williams, bringing up a 3rd and 11. It's a handoff to Gore for some reason and it looses one yard. The 49ers punt. Nelson gets it to the 30-yarrd line.

OMG STOP PUNTING IT I'M BORED Ok, not really, I hope the Packers have to punt here but after the first play, an inside slant for nine and a half yards I'm getting worried. Grant gets the carry up the right side and the chain gang confirms the first down. I think it was a generous spot. Grant then gets his biggest carry of the game, nine yards on the right side. 2nd and 1. Rodgers then hits Jones over the middle bringing up another first down.

Spencer almost picks off this next ball, but it's incomplete. Rodgers is hit hard by Manny Lawson but his pass is caught on the ground by Donald Driver... for a four yard loss. Manny Lawson comes back on the next play on third down and gets his first sack of the game for a loss of six. Packers punt, the wind catches it and it goes out at the 28-yard line.

Scared Me A Bit There, Next Possession Alex Smith has great protection but the receivers can't get any seperation, he tucks it, runs and slides for five yards. The next pass is incomplete, and the third is... picked off by defensive lineman Johnny Jolly, who goes a couple yards before fumbling it but the Packers fall on it.

After The Turnover... The Packers have good field position and off a fake to Grant complete a pass to James Jones to bring up first and goal which is followed by a touchdown pass to WR Nelson. The extra point is good and the Packers tie it again 24-24.

Next Possession Robinson takes the ball out of the endzone to the 24-yard line. The 49ers offense goes out on the field with 6:42 left in the game. The fist pass is a 19-yard completion to Vernon Davis over the middle, followed by Josh Morgans first catch of the game for 11 yards. On the next first down Alex Smith throws a high pass to WR Michael Crabtree for another first down. The Niners are putting together an impressive drive.

Frank Gore breaks by my count four tackles before being brought down after a two yard run to the left side on first down. TE Delanie Walker gets his first reception, for 9 yards and a first down. From 1st and 10 Alex Smith takes the snap and throws a perfect pass right into the hands of WR Michael Crabtree who picks up his first touchdown on the season. It is a 21-yard TD. The extra point is good and the 49ers lead again 31-24.

Next Possession Jackson gets the ball to the 29-yard line on the kickoff. The Packers go out with 3:52. They pick up nine yards on the first down pass but Rodgers goes down to a sack on the second down pass play by Aubrayo Franklin. 3rd and 9 with 2:50 left in the game. Rodgers is under pressure and gets hit before checking down to Donald Driver who loses five yards on the pass. At 4th and 13 the Packers have no choice but to punt, trusting in their defense. Jones breaks a tackle and gets the ball to the 46-yard line.

After The Punt Frank Gore picks up seven yards on the first down run to bring up the 2-minute warning. FB Moran Norris gets the call on the next play and gets two yards. On third down Frank Gore goes up the middle and picks up the first down just barely. The Packers spend a timeout. Gore picks up three yards and the Packers spend another timeout. Gore breaks a tackle on his way to another first down and the Packers are defeated. WIth 1:30 left the 49ers take a knee and then lineup for another. At 45 seconds it's a run from frank gore and then a kneeldown on third down. The 49ers win 31-24.

Final Score - San Francisco 49ers 31, Green Bay Packers 24




403 Total Offense 299
102 Rushing 45
301 Passing 254
2 (+1) Turnovers 3 (-1)
4-10 (40%) 3rd Down Conv. 7-13 (53%)
2-15 Penalties 1-10
18:58 Posession Time 13:02

QB Alex Smith 19/26 323 YDS 73%, 4TD, 2 INT, 122.3

QB Aaron Rodgers 30/39 269 YDS 76%, 3TD, 3 INT, 88.5

HB Frank Gore 18 carries, 99 YDS, 5.5 AVG

HB Ryan Grant 19 carries, 45 YDS, 2.4 AVG

WR Michael Crabtree 5 REC, 106 YDS, 21.2 AVG, 1 TD

TE Vernon Davis 4 REC, 50 RDS, 12.5 AVG, 2 TD

WR James Jones 7 REC, 79 YDS, 11.2 AVG

LB Patrick Willis 7 TKL, 1 TFL, 2 INT

DT Aubrayo Franklin 1 SACK, 1 TFL, 3 TKL

LB Aaron Kampman 3 TKL, 1.5 SACK

Player Of The Game Near the end of the game Madden picked LB Patrick Willis as the player of the game. Willis was consistently pressuring when not in coverage and had two picks and one tackle for loss as well as having 7 solo tackles and being in on another. Willis also forced two incompletions out of the hands of WR Donald Driver.

Post Game This game was a slugfest, it was high scoring but still managed to be a strong defensive matchup. The 49ers played like the 49ers and the Packers played like the Packers, which is always a good thing. Not saying this is how it will go exactly on Sunday but some players who I figured would play well played well. The 49ers played strong run defense but gave up a whole lot of first downs. Rodgers stood in the pocket, only rolling out once or twice and the 49ers defensive line played a great game. Crabtree had a breakout game and Vernon Davis showed why he is a huge endzone threat, both literally and figuratively. I said it'd be high scoring before, and it was to a decent degree. I hope you've enjoyed this sim and as always, GO 49ERS!