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49ers-Vikings: The World According To Madden

Last Saturday, I had the first of these posts, taking a looking at game one of the 49ers exhibition season against the Colts. The final result was pretty accurate, but the numbers were definitely way off, as we can all imagine. Still, it was a fun look and generated a fair bit of discussion. Note that this is not a perfect simulation, and nobody other than ESPN will try and convince you of such. I do my best to make this an engaging read, and that's all this is for. Occasionally some things will end up being true to life, and usually bad players play bad while good players play good, etc. Still... you know.

So basically, the situation is that I pop in Madden NFL 11 for the Xbox 360, turn the game on All-Madden difficulty with something like 8-minute quarters. I be sure to make the roster accurate, and I watch the game - providing commentary to all of you. At some point this year, I'd love to record a full game and provide audio commentary, but that's for the future. For now it's a good ol' text breakdown. 

Note that, while it's preseason, the stats and rosters are going to be even more skewed. For instance, Brett Favre will probably be playing a full half in this game of Madden. I may or may not alter them, I'm not entirely sure. For the Colts game, all the starters played a half and then it reverted to backups. So I'm not sure what's going down with that just yet. We'll see. Let's get to it. Jump!

It's 75 degrees in San Francisco. The opening video is showing.. Brett Favre getting off the bus. Then it's showing Brett Favre throwing. Madden knows what's up, apparently. The 49ers win the toss and elect to kick. Percy Harvin brings it to the 18-yard line from the end zone.

Vikings First Drive: Favre, from the shotgun, hands off to Adrian Peterson, who runs to the right and is dropped behind the line by Patrick Willis. It's a one-yard loss on the play, bringing up 2nd and 11. It's another hand-off to Peterson, through the left side of the line and he gets a little penetration, going five yards to bring up a 3rd and 6. Favre, again under shotgun, hits Sidney Rice for eight yards over the middle for a first down. There was nobody near him.

First and ten from the 30, Favre takes the snap from under center and hands off to the right, Adrian Peterson picks up four yards. On 2nd and 6, Favre from the shotgun looks left, and is hit from his right by blitzing cornerback Tarrell Brown making it a 3rd and 15. On third down, Favre is pressured from the right side, and he dumps off to the left. Looking at it, it was probably a designed screen, and Adrian Peterson takes it 28 yards due to the 49ers not being able to stop screens. At all. Dashon "Goldston" misses a big tackle. 1st and 10.

From their own 49-yard line, Favre takes the snap from the shotgun, and hands the ball off to Peterson, who goes for no yardage as Justin Smith drags him down. 2nd and 10. On second down, it's a rush for Toby Gerhart, who picks up five yards before behind dragged down from behind by Ray McDonald. 3rd and 5. It's Johnson over the middle for a five yard reception. The Vikings are 3/3 on third down conversions at this point.

On a first down WR screen, Harvin picks up four yards before being brought down by CB Tarrell Brown. On 2nd down, Favre drops back and launches a bomb to the end zone. Clements is on Bernard Berrian, and successfully depends the pass. 3rd and 6. Favre dumps off to the right side and Moats converts for the first down again.

On first down, it's a run and Peterson gets six yards. Another dumpoff, short pass over the middle means another first down for the Vikings. The 49ers are not protecting the sidelines... over the middle of the field. They're giving up everything underneath. Singletary looks angry on the sidelines.

It's a first down pass over the middle to Visanthe Shiancoe, and he picks up ten yards setting the Vikings up for a first and goal, with eight yards to go. Favre, from the shotgun,hits Percy Harvin without much issue for the touchdown. Tarell Brown was in coverage. After the extra point, the Vikings lead 7-0. 

The kickoff is downed in the endzone for a touchback.

49ers First Drive: From under center, Smith takes two steps and tries to throw to his left, but he hits Chad Greenway right in the hands, but thankfully he doesn't hang on. 2nd and 10, Smith from the shotgun fakes to Frank Gore, and then hits Jason Hill over the middle on a short throw, he turns upfield, picks up the first down, and more. It's a sixteen yard reception.

On first down, it's Frank Gore and he doesn't get anything, the Vikings line pushes through without issue at all and it's 2nd and 10. On second down, it's another run, to the left side, and Gore follows Norris for seven yards before being brought down. 3rd and 3, and it's another run from Frank Gore, to the right side, from the shotgun. It gets one yard. Creative playcalling, even in Madden. We've got the two minute warning already, and the 49ers punt. It's a touchback.

Next Vikings Drive: Favre takes the snap, and is hit as he throws the ball away. 2nd and 10. On second down, Dashon Goldson almost gets an interception off a deep pass down the middle to Percy Harvin, but he can't hang on. 3rd and 10. Another 49ers defender gets his hands on a pass, on third down Willis jumps the route and drops the sure-fire pick. 4th and 10, and the 49ers have Ted Ginn awaiting the punt. Ginn takes it at the 35 and is dropped at the 36.

After The Punt: The 49ers line up in the shotgun formation, and Smith takes the snap. He immediately sees the Vikings looking for the shotgun-run, and sees Crabtree beating his corner on the right side, and the safety hesitates. With pressure right in his face, Smith delivers a good ball to Crabtree, who is two strides from his cornerback. Crabtree goes all the way for a 49ers touchdown! It's a 64-yarder, and after the extra point, the game is tied at 7-7.

The kickoff is taken from the two, to the 21-yard line.

Next Vikings Drive: Favre is out there again, and from the shotgun he has all the time in the world. After about six seconds, he fires to the left side, deep. Shawntae Spencer gets in front of it - hits him right in the hands, but once again he can;t hold on. 2nd and 10. Favre from the shotgun again drops back and this time he's pressured. He lets the ball loose and it flies off target deep right. Nate Clements and Michael Lewis are both in a position to snag it, and Michael Lewis comes down with it for the game's first turnover.

After The "Favre": From the shtgun, Smith is pressured immediately from the left side of the line, and he throws to the right to Crabtree as he's hit. The ball is almost picked, but the Vikings defender can't hang on. 2nd and 10 with 56-seconds left in the half. From the shotgun, Smith is immediately pressured again from the right side, and he throws the ball away. 3rd and 10, Smith is hit again from the right side and it's all he can do to get the ball out of there. 4th and 10.

The 49ers punt and it's fielded at the 25. There's a fumble though! Revnaud is hit hard by cornerback Karl Paymah and LB NaVorro Bowman dives on it. There's a pile, but on the bottom, Bowman has it. The booth decides to review the fumble, however. It's overturned. He was down. It's the Vikings ball at the 31.

Vikings Next Drive: Favre, from the shotgun hits Johnson for a first down and about thirty-three yards, right between two 49ers defenders. The Vikings take a timeout. Favre from the shotgun again and it's Sidney Rice over the middle with nobody in front of him. Touchdown Vikings, in only two plays. The Vikings lead 14-7 after the extra point.

Well That Sucked: 27 seconds left in the half, Ginn takes the kickoff. Then he drops it. Then someone on the 49ers recovers it. Smith takes the snap from under center, is pressured immediately, and is hit again as he throws. By my count, he's only thrown one pass that he wasn't hit on, and it was a touchdown pass to Crabtree. 18 seconds left to go. From the shotgun, Smith overthrows his receiver deep downfield on the left side. Sails out of bounds. 3rd and 10. On third down, Smith is sacked immediately. Six seconds to go in the half and the Vikings call a timeout. The 49ers punt.

The return goes nowhere and the half comes to a close. The 49ers trail 14-7.

HALFTIME Alex Smith is being pressured on every play. Anthony Davis isn't looking great. Rachal doesn't fare much better. Smith is 2 for 8 for 80 yards and a touchdown. Wow. The 49ers receive the kickoff and kneel down for a touchback.

49ers First Drive: Nate Davis is in, and it's a fake to Brian Westbrook, and then a pass to a wide open Jason Hill, who drops the pass. 2nd and 10. On second down, Ted Ginn motions from the left, and it's a run play, and end around, and Ginn turns upfield and picks up ten yards for the first down.

From the shotgun, going 4 WR, Nate Davis finds Michael Crabtree on the right side of the field. Crabtree is technically out of the lineup but it looks like someone may have been hurt and I missed it. Davis hits Crabtree in stride and he walks into the end zone. It's a 67-yard TD in man coverage to Michael Crabtree. The extra point is good and the 49ers tie the game 14-14.

For the Michael Crabtree touchdown, the video is here!

After The Crabtree Goodness: The kickoff is fielded at the five, and it's taken to the 27-yard line. Tavaris Jackson takes the snap and hands off to Toby Gerhart, who punishes the first two defenders who hit him and picks up nine yards. 2nd and inches to go. From the offset-I formation, it's a toss to Gerhart on the left side. But he's stuffed by LB NaVorro Bowman and it's 3rd and inches. On 3rd down, it's a run to the right and NaVorro Bowman gets through the line and stuffs him! 4th and inches, and the Vikings punt the ball. Ginn fields the punt and picks up about five yards before basically falling down.

After The Punt: It's a run to Westbrook, who picks up three yards from the shotgun run. From the shotgun again, it's ...the same play, but this time Westbrook picks up the first down and a little more. The 49ers have a first down.

It's another end-around on first down, and this one only goes for four yards. It was Crabtree out there. From the shotgun, yet again, it's another run for Westbrook, who picks up four yards on the left side. 3rd and 3 to go. Nate Davis takes the snap from under center and it's a run to Westbrook. It goes nowhere as the 49ers line is obliterated. It's a two-yard loss bringing up fourth down. The punt is a bad one, and goes out of bounds at the 30-yard line.

After The Other Punt: Jackson hands off to Gerhart on the right side, but he's wrapped up quick after three yards. From the shotgun, it's Gerhart again, who picks up another four yards before being brought down. The 3rd quarter comes to an end and it's 3rd and 3 for the Vikes. It's... yet another run, but this one goes for the first down as Gerhart picks up six yards through the middle of the line.

Jackson, from first down, tries to hit his receiver over the middle, but LB NaVorro Bowman gets in front of it and knocks it down. 2nd and 10, and it's Jackson dropping back, hitting his receiver over the middle. Bowman closes in and brings him down after he picks up six yards. On third down, Jackson hits his receiver over the middle - again, and this time Bowman is going for a blitz, and there's nobody to stop the first down.

On first down, it's an incomplete pass over the middle that goes nowhere near his receiver. On second down, the pass is broken up by Parys Haralson. On third down, Jackson drops back and fires the ball down the left side of the field. CB Karl Paymah goes up and snatches this one out of the air for an interception. He is tackled immediately.

After The Interception: On first down, it's a six yard run to rookie RB Anthony Dixon. Nate Davis is still in at quarterback and it's the fourth quarter. On 2nd and four, Nate Davis calls an audible, takes the snap and rolls out to the right. Anthony Dixon chips a blitzer, then runs forward and takes the pass from Davis. Dixon stiff arms a Minnesota defender and turns upfield, picking up 27-yards off the pass before being brought down.

On first down, it's a run to the left side, and Iupati opens up a big hole. Anthony Dixon picks up 13 yards and another first down before being brought down. From the 15-yard line, Davis lines up in the shotgun. It's a shotgun run, to the left, and it picks up six yards to bring up 2nd and 4. There's 2:10 left in the game. Anthony Dixon is given the handoff again, and he goes up the middle, breaking a tackle and getting the ball all the way to the 3-yard line for a 49ers first and goal.

he two minute warning goes, and it's another run to Dixon on the left side. Dixon gets through without much problem and after the extra point the 49ers are up 21-14 over the Vikings off the big run. The 49ers kickoff and it's fielded from the endzone. The Vikings get the ball to about the 20, but they'recalled for holding and have to begin their drive at the 10-yard line. >

For the Anthony Dixon 13-yard run, the video is here!

After Anthony Dixon Runs More Wild Than Hulkamania: Tavaris Jackson takes the 1st down snap from the shotgun. The first down pass is over the left side, and it's broken up by LB Travis LaBoy to bring up 2nd and 10 with 1:49 left in the game. The second down pass is a dumpoff to the left, but nobody is around him and he gets six yards before being pushed out of bounds. 3rd and 4, the Vikings are 6 for 9 on third down. On third down, it's a short pass to the right for a few yards anda  first down to Sidney Rice, who is supposed to be out of the lineup.

The Vikes go for a hurry up and Jackson goes for the first down pass, right off the snap to Sidney Rice over the middle but the route is jumped by LB NaVorro Bowman, who gets the pick! The 49ers get the turnover on the 27-yard line.

For the NaVorro Bowman interception, the video is here!

After The Interception: Nate Davis hands off to Anthong Dixon from the shotgun, and Dixon is hit immediately in the backfield for what will surely be a three yard loss.. until he shakes it off, turns upfield and picks up six yards. The Vikings take a timeout. 2nd and 4. The 49ers kneel down and the Vikings can't do anything about it, having expended an injury timeout earlier in the game. The clock runs out and the 49ers win the game 21-14

Final: San Francisco 49ers 21, Minnesota Vikings 14

POSTGAME: That was a fairly straightforward game. Alex Smith went 2-for-8 but for 80 yards and one touchdown, no picks. He threw many incompletions after showing pretty good poise in the face of pressure. Nate Davis went 2-for-3 for 94 yards and one touchdown.

WR Michael Crabtree had only two receptions, but for 131 yards and both of them were for touchdowns. RB Anthony Dixon rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown, picking up another 27-yards through the air in only a quarter of play. LB NaVorro Bowman led the 49ers in tackles with 4, with a tackle for loss and an interception to boot, with another pass deflection on top of that.

I like that NaVorro Bowman plays so well on the game. Dixon ran suprisingly hard. That offensive line sucks, though. Oh well.

Player Of The Game: LB NaVorro Bowman, 4 TAK, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PDF

Sorry if this was a bit rushed folks. It's 3:40 a.m.. I'm tired.