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49ers-Seahawks: The World According to Madden

So Fooch sent an email last week suggesting this idea for a post, and I knew I had to be in on it. He got the idea from our resident Cardinals blog to do a simulation of the upcoming Sunday matchup wach week. The "sim" in question (and please note the quotation marks) is Madden NFL 10 on the Xbox 360, and the matchup? But of course, it's tomorrow's game against the Seattle Seahawks. I've got my rosters as updated as possible (no Micheal Spurlock yet, but he'll play just like Jason Hill on Madden regardless) and I've taken the liberty of benching those players already designated as out such as the Seahawks' Leroy Hill and the Niners' Ahmad Brooks. Michael Crabtree has also been removed from the depth chart.

What it comes down to is me spectating the entire game at 8-minute quarters with a 10-second runoff. All penalties are on and the game's difficulty setting is All-Madden. I'm going to watch the game and provide some commentary as to what's going on. My brother suggested I hook up my mic and do my John Madden impression but I've decided to stick with text for this first edition. What I'll do is pay special attention to each team's first drives and then touch up on the bigger plays. Now, Madden isn't a simulation-based game by any means, but it is one of the most realistic football games I've ever seen. Note I'm talking about 2010 here, not past installments which have been, how you say, a little less than stellar. With that in mind, let's see how the game plays out, shall we? (Note, I was trying to get some pictures up, but they'll have to wait for next week as I'm not at my house and I'm without a way to take screen shots.)


1st Quarter

49ers First Drive: The 49ers won the coin toss and elect to receive. The kickoff goes to Rossum at the three yard line and spins around three tackles before getting downed at the 33-yard line. What a great start, right? Wrong. TE Delanie Walker is called for holding and the 49ers are backed up to the 23. First down. The 49ers continue their fantastic start with a one yard run by Frank Gore who was completely eaten up by Brandon Mebane, followed by a false start on second down from starting LT Joe Staley. The 49ers are 2nd and 14. The drive is saved by two underneath passes for a total of 16 yards to WR Josh Morgan and FB Moran Norris. Shaun Hill is pressured on the next snap and barely gets the ball thrown back to the line of scrimmage before he's taken down. This is followed by an outside run to Frank Gore who is tackled for no loss and no gain. 3rd and 10. The 49ers line up, and QB Shaun Hill doesn't like what he sees, because he audibles the play and a few receivers and backs change it up. He takes the snap, and Vernon Davis catches a 9 yard pass and turns it into a 19 yard gain for a first down.

The team then converts another third down with short dump-offs to WR Jason Hill, a two yard run by Frank Gore and, wouldn't you know it, another outside to Moran Norris on 3rd. The Niners are on the 27 yard line. The Seahawks seem to be getting pressure on every play. The offensive line is holding up gamely on the left side, but on the right Adam Snyder seems to be getting overloaded. Shaun Hill throws a pretty seven yard pass to WR Jason Hill and HB Frank Gore actually picks up a first down, at the 16-yard line. Nice! Shaun Hill stands cooly in the pocket and delivers a nice lob to Isaac Bruce over the head of a whiffing, blitzing Lofa Tatupu to Isaac Bruce for 11 yards, the ball is spotted at the four yard line.

Touchdown! San Francisco with an outside toss to rookie half back Glen Coffee for four yards. Seattle had the middle packed and made a good point to leave defenders on Vernon Davis and Moran Norris, both of whom had converted in short yardage situations earlier--leaving San Francisco's Glen Coffee to see his first action in the game and put the 49ers up 7-0.

Seahawks First Drive: Nedney kicks off to the 3-yard line and the kick is returned by Josh Wilson of the Seahawks who makes it past a few defenders and gets to the 35-yard line where SS Reggie Smith lays out a big hit and forces a fumble! The ball is loose! Seahawks LB Will Herring recovers to fumble and is tackled at the 28-yard line. The 'Hawks line up and Matt Hasselbeck throws a quick incompletion out of bounds after the 49ers got a bit of pressure on the right side of the line. Julius Jones then gets about four yards on a toss outside. On 3rd and six Hasselbeck takes the snap and literally stands in the pocket for 10 seconds completely unharrassed (which is an achievement on the Xbox 360, mind you) before hitting HB Justin Forsett for a 9-yard gain and a first down.

The 'Hawks pick up an eight yard reception and then go to the air once again on 2nd down, Hasselbeck throws over the middle and it's deflected by a leaping Isaac Sopoaga for an incompletion, 3rd and two. Julius Jones once again gets a toss to the outside and picks up the first down. On the next play Takeo Spikes bursts through the line and hits Jones hard, putting him out for one play and setting the 'Hawks up for a second and 9. Hasselbeck then throws a strike to second-string TE Josh Owens for 18 yards and another first down. The quarter comes to a close with the 49ers leading 7-0 with the Seahawks on the 29 yard line.

2nd Quarter

Hasselbeck takes the snap, continuing the teams first drive and looks threw his receivers. Patrick Willis seems to be playing rather lazy zone coverage, but this all seems to be a ploy. Hasselbeck throws a pass across the middle and it is intercepted by Willis who jumps the route with surprising speed and intensity, taking it around the confused line and all the way back to the end-zone for 76 yards and a touchdown. The Seahawks' first drive ends in confusion and tired lineman. 49ers lead 14-0.

With 6:20 left in the quarter the 49ers kickoff to Forsett who brings the ball back to the 29-yard line. Hasselbeck then proceeds to burn the secondary with a nice strike to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and then get stuffed in the backfield two times to bring up 3rd down with 11 to go. A screen pass goes for nothing and we're faced with the first fourth down of the game. The 'Hawks get a favorable bounce on the punt and the Niners line up on the 9-yard line. Gore continues to pick up minimal yardage and the short passes continue to convert on third down. Vernon Davis is hit hard by Tatupu and sits out a play. We come to the two-minute warning and the Niners are on the 21 yard line, 3rd-down with 8 to go. Isaac Bruce runs from the LOS and takes a reverse handoff and spins around a defender for...a five yard gain, fourth down.

Hasselbeck once again leads his team out there, starting at their own 38-yard line after a couple missed tackles on the punt return. He drops back, see's an open man a ways down field and throws a strike. LB Patrick Willis jumps the route on his zone coverage and picks off the Seahawks' QB for the second time and takes it but one yard before being tackled. Hasselbeck slumps his shoulders and walks off the field.

Shaun Hill leads the 49ers once again with short dumpoffs to Isaac Bruce and slants to Vernon Davis getting first down after first down. The Seahawks are seeming to be a bit over-aggressive, attempting to jump routes and playing stellar coverage deep--while Isaac Bruce rips them apart on the inside. The two-minute drill is successful, capped off with an 8-yard pass over the middle to Frank Gore for another touchdown with 45 seconds remaining in the half. 21-0.

The first sack of the game is credited to Aubrayo Franklin who gets to Hasselbeck for a 2-yard loss. Julius Jones takes a handoff to the right side, breaks a tackle and then... he's gone, taking it 78 yards for a TD. Dashon Goldson catches him up but fails to make the tackle at the five-yard line.  With 18 seconds left in the half, the 49ers lead 21-7.

Frank Gore has two great runs at the end of the half and takes the ball to about the fifty yard line. At the half the 49ers have run 27 plays and the Seahawks have run 15.

3rd Quarter

Joe Nedney kicks off and it is brought back by Josh Wilson to the 25-yard line. Julius Jones breaks the 100-yard mark early in the third quarter with two consecutive runs that take the Seahawks to the fifty yard line. They follow this with a play action pass to T.J. Housh for another first down and seem to be firing on all cylinders. On a first down a pass goes right into CB Nate Clements' hands, but is dropped for an incompletion. Carlson makes his first reception of the game on this drive with a five-yard catch. On a 3rd and five the 49ers hold strong and keep the 'Hawks to a fourth down on the 32-yard line. The 50-yard field goal is no good from Olindo Mare. 49ers' ball on the 39-yard line.

Shaun Hill starts with a horrible pass while not even under pressure that went near no 49ers but a couple Seahawks, it falls incomplete followed by Frank Gore getting stuffed again and then an incomplete pass off the hands of a D-lineman. 49ers punt. The punt is taken all the way back to the Seahawks' 41 yard line by Justin Forsett.

Hasselbeck throws a series of incompletions and the ball is punted. A favorable bounce yet again for the Seahawks has the 49ers set up at the seven yard line. Hill once again starts off with a horrid pass. The second sack of the game comes from Cory Redding as Shaun Hill steps up right into the guy in spectacular Hill fashion and the 49ers are in their own end-zone for their punt on 4th and 13.

After a 3-and-out the 'Hawks punt. Seahawks first round draft choice Aaron Curry makes his first tackle of the game in the third quarter, followed by a Patrick Kerney sack on Shaun Hill as the 49ers set-up 3rd and 14 on their own 15 yard line. The team converts the third down with a pretty pass between two defenders to WR Jason Hill to end the quater.

4th Quarter

The 49ers seem to be jump-started by the Jason Hill reception, or maybe Mike Singletary threatened to bench every one of them if they didn't start the 4th quarter firing. Frank Gore catches a nice pass over the middle, has a two yard rush and rookie running back Glen Coffee sees his second snap of the game go for a 32-yard completion on the right side after trucking through a defender. 49ers are on the 19 yard line.

Isaac Bruce comes through again on third down as Shaun Hill has at least eight seconds to wait for the coverage to break down and throw a strike that sets the team up with a 1st and goal on the three yard line.

LB Aaron Curry makes his second tackle of the game--a four yard loss on Frank Gore. The Niners then throw a pass to Jason Hill who disappears beneath a host of tacklers just near the goal line. The referees huddle up and talk for about ten seconds before signaling TOUCHDOWN! A Joe Nedney extra point puts the 49ers up 28-7.

With 3:38 left in the game Josh Wilson takes the kick out of the end zone, breaking one tackle on his way to the 26-yard line. Jones has another rush for the Seahawks for ten yards, this is followed by Nate Clements once again dropping what should have been an interception, and follows that up by batting down another pass on second down. Hasselbeck drops back on third down and this pass is batted away by CB Shawntae Spencer. They go for it on 4th down and convert with a ten yard pass to Nate Burleson as Dre' Bly loses a step.

Touchdown Seattle as Hasselbeck sits calmly in the pocket and has literally all day to throw to WR Deion Branch, whom I watched the entire play. Matt could have thrown this ball right away or waited another three seconds for Branch to step into the endzone before throwing it--the coverage was that bad. Seahawks are now trailing 28-14.

With 1:46 left in the game the Seahawks try for the onside kick and do not get it, WR Jason Hill recovers.

Moran Norris converts a third down again with a run after the Seahawks burn all their timeouts the 49ers begin taking a knee on first down and take the game to its end.

Final Score - San Francisco 49ers 28, Seattle Seahawks 14



253 Total Offense 266
61 Rushing 118
192 Passing 248
0 (+2) Turnovers 2 (-2)
8-12 (66%) 3rd Down Conv. 3-8 (37%)
2-15 Penalties 0-0
18:58 Posession Time 13:02

QB Shaun Hill 20/26 206 YDS 76%, 2TD, 124.8

QB Matt Hasselbeck 13/26 150 YDS 50%, 1TD, 2INT, 48.5

HB Frank Gore 20 carries, 51 YDS, 2.5 AVG

HB Julius Jones 9 carries, 118 YDS, 13.1 AVG

WR Jason Hill 5 REC, 43 YDS, 1TD

WR Deion Branch 2 REC, 56 YDS, 1TD

LB Patrick Willis 2 INT

DE Patrick Kerney 2 TFL, 1 SACK

Post-game: This didn't break down exactly how I'd see it, especially with the running backs. Frank Gore, much like last week in Arizona couldn't get the running game started and questions loom about the offensive line. It seems on every run to the left David Baas was put on his rear-end and every run to the right had Adam Snyder missing his assignment completely. The 49ers beat the Seahawks with short passes and spreading the ball around. Isaac Bruce and Vernon Davis both picked up some nice YAC, and Glen Coffee played very well on his two plays of the game. Will this happen in real life? Sure if Hill has a great game, the thing that surprised me was just how Shaun Hill-esque he played in-game. He didn't have great pocket awareness, he stepped into a few sacks and he made a couple horrid looking passes. Either way, lets hope for a similar score tomorrow, no?