Well look at what we got here! Last year I ran these series of posts which we probably borrowed from another site here on SB Nation (Revenge of the Birds comes to mind) and this year I'm bringing them back. Before I begin, note that nobody here thinks Madden is a perfect simulation. Nobody even thinks it's very realistic at all. I will say that occasionally some things work out really well (the Packers game last year saw the receivers and tight ends destroying us on the slant - which happened, for instance), but again - sometimes they don't. This is purely for entertainment purposes.
The whole deal is that I pop in Madden NFL 11, ensure that the rosters are accurate, put the game on All-Madden difficulty, and simulate it. Generally the quarters are eight minutes long. Actually - I don't simulate it, I watch the entirety of the game and provide commentary as I watch it. This is usually accompanied by massive amounts of spelling and grammatical errors, we'll just consider it a post from Fooch then, eh? Ohhhh, snap! That just happened! Come at me, Fooch! But seriously, let's see what we've got here.
One important thing to note is that with the preseason, the Madden simulation is going to be even less accurate. There's no way to tell just how long Peyton Manning or Alex Smith will play, and the best I can do is mix in backups at the half or after a corner and go from there. I may just remove both starting quarterbacks from the game after the first quarter, or I might just leave it how it is. Once the regular season begins, things will be nailed down better.
It's the afternoon and it's 48 degrees Fahrenheit in Indianapolis. Collinsworth says he has his eyes on Alex Smith and that Smith knows the significance of how he plays today. Pretty accurate, I suppose. The 49ers won the coin toss and elected to receive. The 49ers had both WR Kyle Williams and WR Ted Ginn back to field the kick - it went to Williams, who ran it back to the 25-yard line before being brought down.
49ers First Drive: Starting at the 25, The team lines up and it's a run to the left side to Gore, and he picks up three yards, bouncing to the outside. Looked like he would have been better off on the inside. In singleback formation, Alex Smith takes the snap and drops back to pass. He is pressured after a short couple of seconds off a cornerback blitz from both sides, but goes through his progressions and hits WR Josh Morgan on the left side of the field past the first down marker. Morgan is tackled immediately by Clint Session. He picked up 18 yards on the play.
First and 10, and the 49ers line up in singleback formation. It's a handoff to Gore to the left side, and he runs right behind Mike Iupati for seven yards before being brought down under a group of Colts players. 2nd and 3, and the 49ers line up in the shotgun, with Gore on his left and Vernon Davis next to Joe Staley. Davis motions to the right side of the line and the ball is snapped. It's a high snap from David Baas, but Smith handles it. Looking to the left, CB Powers on the Colts tries to jam Josh Morgan, who uses his physicality and gets through him. The safety came in to handle Vernon Davis and Morgan is running free. Almost immediately, Alex fires downfield and it's perfect, hitting Morgan around the 20-yard line. Right off the bat, Josh Morgan goes into the end-zone with Antoine Bethea and CB Powers trailing behind him.
The 48-yard touchdown pass, along with the complete extra point puts the 49ers up 7-0 over the Colts.
Giguere fields the kickoff and brings it out to the 19-yard line where LB NaVorro Bowman brings him down.
Colts First Drive: The Colts line up in singleback, and they hand off to Addai - who is immediately swarmed and stuffed by Isaac Sopoaga. 2nd and 11. The Colts line up in shotgun formation and Peyton Manning takes the snap. Dropping back he has flawless protection, and delivers a strike over the middle to WR Anthony Gonzalez who looks to have it - until he's wedged between LB Patrick Willis and FS Dashon Goldson, he drops it and it's ruled incomplete. 3rd and 11. Going with the shotgun formation again, it's's a low snap but Manning handles it, stands in the pocket and delivers a strike on the left side to Gonzalez, who holds onto it this time before being tackled immediately by CB Shawntae Spencer and FS Dashon Goldson. It's a 23-yard completion.
1st and 10 at the 41-yard line. From under center, Manning takes the snap and drops back to pass. He thinks he has WR Reggie Wayne over the middle but the pass is intercepted by CB Nate Clements, who is brought down immediately! Clutch performance just being physical over the middle for Clements.
49ers Next Possesion: The team lines up at the 50-yard line. Alex Smith takes the snap and is under pressure from his right side. He looks left and has nobody, and makes an ill-advised pass attempt to his right, looking for Ted Ginn. The pass is broken up by Robert Mathis of all people. What Ginn was doing on the sideline I'll never know. 2nd and 10. From the shotgun, the 49ers try a screen to Gore on the left side and pick up only a yard. 3rd and 9, the team lines up in the shotgun formation again. The ball is snapped and it looks like Alex has Michael Crabtree on the left side, but C David Baas overpowers his block and continues onward downfield, looking to do some damage, and the pass actually hits his back and is incomplete. Andy Lee comes out to punt. The ball goes into the end zone for a touchback.
Colts Next Possesion: From under center, Manning takes the snap and tosses it to his left side, where Manny Lawson gets in front of it and bats it down. 2nd and 10. From the shotgun, Manning takes the snap and is immediately pressured on his left side by Tarell Brown, but Manning gets the pass off and is drilled by Brown directly after doing so. Dallas Clark receives the pass after putting a move on Parys Haralson, who recovers well, tracks him down, wraps him up and bats the ball out of his arms! The ball falls down and Dashon Goldson is there, scooping it up! It's a change of possession again for the Colts!
After The Turnover: Alex Smith takes the snap from the shotgun and hands off to Gore, who takes it to the right side directly into two defenders. He gets through the first, but with no blocking help, he goes down behind the line for a 2-yard loss. 2nd and 12, and Alex Smith takes the snap from under center. He drops back, and it's a draw play to the left, but Gore has no blockers again and it's only a one yard gain. 3rd down with 11-yards to go. From the shotgun again, another high snap from Davis Baas - Smith surveys the field with good protection, and it's Michael Crabtree on the left side of the field, beating CB Powers, which Smith recognizes and delivers the same exact pass as before - and Crabtree makes it into the endzone for the team's second touchdown. The extra point is good and the 49ers are leading 14-0 with 0:30 to go in the 1st quarter.
Delanie Walker has good coverage on the kickoff and the Colts start at the sixteen.
Colts Next Possession: Manning takes the first snap from the shotgun and finds Dallas Clark over the middle for a 26-yard gain before he's brought down. First and ten from the 42-yard line. From under center, the Colts run it up the middle. Patrick Willis and Aubrayo Franklin stop it before serious damage is done, and the Colts pick up three yards. It's the end of the first quarter.
To start the second, it's Manning from the shotgun, who has good potection and finds... tight end Dallas Clark on the right sideline for 24-yards and the first down. From the 31 yard line, Manning takes the snap from center, drops back - has good protection but is pressured slightly from his left side. He sees his man downfield and delivers a strike to the back of the end zone where Nate Clements just gets completely mixed up. He ran with Reggie Wayne all the way into the back of the endzone and then seemed shocked that it ended, and Wayne toe tapped down to a touchdown. The point after is good ant the Colts come within seven of the 49ers. 49ers lead 14-7.
Kyle Williams fields the next kickoff, taking it to the 21-yard line.
Next 49ers Possession: The Niners line up under center, and the Colts look like they're bringing the heat. Alex Smith audibles and Vernon Davis motions. It's a play action, but the Colts aren't fooled. It's all Smith can do to get the ball away. Incomplete pass. From the shotgun, Smith takes a good snap from Baas, finally, and immediately hits WR Ted Ginn over the middle, who runs upfield before being brought down. It's a 19-yard gain, and good for a 49ers first down.
From the shotgun on first down, Smith has good protection. He looks down field but none of the receivers have seperation, but HB Frank Gore seems forgotten, so Smith hits him on the left side and he turns upfield, turning the one yard pass into a 15-yard gain and another 49ers first down.
From the 45-yard line, Smith is in the shotgun again, and Vernon Davis motions to the right. Smith is pressured a little bit, and makes a bad throw over the middle that is almost picked off, but eventually dropped. 2nd and 10. Under center, Smith hits Morgan over the middle, but he's hit immediately, not particularly hard, but his lack of concentration causes him to drop the ball. From the shotgun, Smith looks to have good protection, but it breaks down. He doesn't see the blitz from the right side and is hit from behind as he throws. The ball lands right in the hands of Daniel Muir directly in front of him, and it's technically an interception to the defensive tackle.
After The Turnover: Manning takes the snap from under center, and it's play action. He throws over the middle and it's Dallas Clark running free, who catches the ball at the 18-yard line. The Colts have a 1st down in the red zone. On the next play, Parys Haralson gets pressure, but Manning hits Anthony Gonzalez for nine yards over the middle. 2nd and 1. It's a handoff to the right to Addai, who picks up one yard before being tackles by Manny Lawson.
1st and GOAL for the Colts. Manning takes the snap under center and throws a bad pass to the left that is nowhere near anyone almost immediately after receiving the snap. 2nd and goal. Manning throws to TE Robinson in the flat and it's dropped. 3rd and GOAL with 7-yards to go. From the shotgun, Manning takes the snap and Reggie Wayne has Clements beat to his right. Manning fires over the middle, but 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks dives in front of the ball, knocking it down to force an incompletion. The Colts kick and make the 24-yard field goal. 49ers lead 14-10.
Ted Ginn takes the kickoff but is stopped at the 20-yard line.
Next 49ers Possession: It's a handoff to Frank Gore to the left side, and he picks up nine yards behind good blocks from Vernon Davis and LG Mike Iupati. We've reached the 2-minute warning for the first half.
From the shotgun, Davis motions right and the Colts back off right before the ball is snapped. Anthony Davis is beaten soundly by Robert Mathis, who barrels into Alex Smith just before the pass is thrown, and it goes right into the arms of linebacker Philip Wheeler, who runs 14 yards before being tackled. It's another turnover that doesn't seem entirely Alex Smith's fault, but he needs to learn how to protect the ball better.
After The Turnover: The Colts line up in the red zone at the 20-yard line and Manning takes the snap from the shotgun. The Colts are called for a false start and they line up at the 25-yard line. From under center, Manning hands off left side to Joseph Addai, who makes it four yards before being brought down by Patrick Willis. 2nd and 11, and Manning is not being pressured at all. Thankfully, the coverage is good and he settles for Reggie Wayne over the middle for four yards. 3rd down with 7 yards to go, with a minute left in the half. Manning hands off to second year player Donald Brown and he's brought down after a couple yards. The 49ers take a timeout, and the Colts line up the field goal unit, and the 31-yard field goal is good. The 49ers lead 14-13.
49ers Next Possession: Ted Ginn takes the kickoff to the 21-yard line, and Alex Smith lines up in the shotgun. Right off the bat, Alex Smith drops back and fires off down the right side. CB Kelvin Hayden... picks it off, and runs it back for the touchdown. The Colts lead 20-14.
After The Awfulness: Ginn gets to the 19-yard line and there's 30 seconds left in the half. Smith is in the shotgun. It's a draw to Gore to the right, who gets two yards. The 49ers take a timeout for some reason. 24 seconds left in the half. It's a three yard gain from Gore and the clock winds down. The first half is over and the Colts lead 20-14.
HALFTIME Well this sucks. It's only preseason, but Alex Smith is making a lot of mistakes. The Colts don't look great either, but they look a darn sight better than the 49ers. The Colts are ahead 20-14.
Colts First Possession Of The Half: The Colts are at the 38-yard line and backups are now in game. Justin Smith is still in for this play, and gets a sack off of Curtis Painter to bring up 2nd and 16. Smith is now out of the game. From the shotgun, Painter throws to the left sideline and hits Eldridge for three yards before Will James brings him down. On 3rd and 13, it's Eldridge again, on the left side, but this time nobody to bring him down. He gets the first down, but just barely before being knocked out of bounds.
1st and 10 on their own 45-yard line. It's shotgun again, and this time it's to the right sideline, a completion to Garcon for four yards. For the first time, Painter takes the snap from under center and hands off to Donald Brown to the left side. Curtis Taylor comes up and stops him at the line of scrimmage. On 3rd and 6, Painter throws it to the right side and it's completed to Eldridge, but NaVorro Bowman closes fast and he stops him just before the first down marker. The Colts go for the 53-yard field goal and they make it with ease.
Ginn takes the kickoff to the 22-yard line.
Next 49ers Possession: David Carr takes his first snap from the shotgun and hands off to HB Anthony Dixon, who is ridiculously slow in this game, and walks for two yards on the right side. The next play is a play action fake to Dixon, and then Carr tries to go back to him over the middle for a pass. There is nobody around him, and the ball hits Dixon right in the face for an incompletion. On third down, Carr takes a shotgun snap, and hits Morgan over the middle for a first down.
From under center, Carr audibles and TE Delanie Walker goes to his left, Carr throws to his right, and it's nearly picked off by LB Glenn, but he drops it. 2nd and 10 for the 49ers. Carr drops back and fires off to WR Jason Hill for ten yards and a first down, but he's tackled immediately. The third quarter comes to a close, with the 49ers trailing 23-14.
It's a run to the left from Dixon on first down, but he only picks up a yard. After that, a pass to Jason Hill on second down - and he picks up eighteen yards, good for a first down. From the shotgun, Carr isn't pressured - he sees a guy on the right and fires a pass way overhead and out of bounds. 2nd and 10. David Carr drops back and stands in the pocket, before throwing the ball deep downfield to receiver Ted Ginn Jr, who catches it and is immediately stopped by the safety. But not before hauling in the 33-yard reception setting the 49ers up with first and goal.
From the two yard line, Carr floats a pass to the right side to Moran Norris, but it's batted down. 2nd and GOAL. It's a handoff to Moran Norris, and he picks up one yard. 3rd and GOAL with one yard to go. It's a snap from the shotgun and a handoff to Dixon, who is tackled for a loss of two yards. At 4th and goal, the 49ers kick a 20-yard field goal with 4 minutes left on the clock. The Colts lead 23-17.
Nedney kicks off, and it's returned to the 18 yard line.
Next Colts Possession: Painter starts from the shotgun, rolls out to the right, and is hit by Jean Francois as he throws, and it falls incomplete. On second down, it's Eldridge over the middle for six yards to bring up 3rd down. From under center, Painter drops back and overthrows his receiver over the middle and it's incomplete. Taylor Mays was in position to break up the pass had it been well thrown.
On 4th down, the Colts punt. Kyle Williams gets about ten yards on the return and the 49ers start at their own 37-yard line.
After The Punt: Carr takes the first snap from center and drops back. Ginn is running free on the left side, but Carr wickedly overthrows what would have been a big gain, even a touchdown! 2nd and 10 with 2:51 to go in the game. Carr drops back, sees nothing down field and checks down to Moran Norris on the left side. Norris has open space in front of him and he builds a head of steam, slamming through one player at ten yards and colliding with another at sixteen, before falling forward another two yards for an 18-yard gain, good for a 49ers first down.
2:15 to go as the 49ers line up and Carr takes the snap. He's got Morgan on the left sideline, for another ten yards or so. Morgan had a quick turn and had to be stopped by the safety. We reach the two minute warning.
1st and 10 for the 49ers on the Colts 32-yard line. On first down, Carr overthrows Josh Morgan and the ball goes out of bounds on the right side as he feels pressure from both sides. He hits Josh Morgan again on the left side of the field for six yards, and it's 3rd and 4 for the 49ers.
With four wide receivers and Anthony Dixon in the backfield, Carr drops back from under center. The 49ers receivers on the left side are getting jammed and Dixon works hard in pass protection. A member of the Colts defensive line breaks through and Carr isn't looking at him. He's got his eyes to the right side - on WR Jason Hill. Hill just put a move on Terrail Lambert, ex-49ers CB. Carr throws, and it's complete. For a touchdown. The game is tied at 23 and the 49ers need an extra point.
The 49ers lineup and the extra point is good. The 49ers lead 24-23 with 1:47 left in the game. Nedney kicks off and the ball is returned to the 18-yard line.
Next Colts Possession: Painter begins from the shotgun and hits Garcon for 12-yards over the middle. On the next first down, Painter takes the snap from under center and steps to the right - which is right where NaVorro Bowman is coming from to nail him for a seven yard loss. 2nd and 17 with 1:21 remaining in the game. Painter takes the snap from the shotgun on 2nd down and fires off an incomplete pass with the 49ers bringing the pressure. The next two plays are both incomplete, with Will James and NaVorro Bowman breaking up passes, respectively.
Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 24, Indianapolis Colts 23
POSTGAME: I actually had a freezing issue and couldn't retrieve the final stats for you as far as receiving goes - but Jason Hill and Josh Morgan were the 49ers leading receivers. Anthony Dixon couldn't get anything done in the run game, and NaVorro Bowman was a beast on the second team defense. The 49ers allowed no sacks, and got two of their own. It was a close game, but Alex Smith had three interceptions in the first half to go with his two touchdowns. Still, two of them were as he was getting hit. David Carr had one touchdown and no interceptions, and something around a 62% completion percentage.
What went down isn't true-to-life, there were backups playing that wouldn't play, and starters playing for too long - but it was entertaining and relatively realistic things happened with the way certain receivers played. Ted Ginn got open deep and was overthrown once, dropped the ball once. Crabtree made a defensive back look silly, and Morgan overpowered that same defensive back. Smith looked good on his touchdown passes but was forced into errors on others.
Player Of The Game: It has to be WR Jason Hill for several clutch receptions including the game winner.
Next Week: A look at the 49ers next game - and I'll be providing full stats as well as trying to embed the videos into the post.