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49ers Vs. Cardinals: The World According To Madden NFL 12

After being asked about it on Twitter, I elected to bring the "World According To Madden" posts back for a try this weekend. I fondly refer to them as "simulations," though any iteration of Madden can hardly be called a simulation. It's an arcade game and nothing more, but I personally find it to be rather interesting to actually spectate and write about these games. I've even taken averages from multiple simulations on my own time.

In short, you'd be surprised how close these games get. I've updated to the latest rosters as of Friday, simulated the game on All-Madden with the 49ers as the home team. Actually, I spectated the game, and provided a play by play. A couple things: Madden is assuming that Skelton will be the Cardinals QB. There's no way around that for me, because that's what's looking likely. Also, the play-by-play kind of winds down near the end, which will happen when you're over 3000 words. Plus it's not edited - sue me. Either way, it was an awesome game to watch and I hope it's this awesome tomorrow. Let's get to it.

The 49ers win the coin toss and elect to defer.

The kickoff from David Akers goes the end-zone, and its taken out by LaRod Stephens-Howling, who gets it to the 22-yard line before being brought down by cornerback Chris Culliver. John Skelton is the starting quarterback for this game, and he initially lines up in the shotgun with four wide receiver. He dumps off to Larry Fitzgerald on the left, and it's a pickup of five yards. Lining up in the I-formation on second down, it's a play action pass that goes over the middle, but Patrick Willis gets his hands on it and knocks it down. With an early thrd down, it's a singleback formation and Skelton goes deep left side to Roberts, who has Tarell Brown beat, but the ball is overthrown and the Cardinals will punt.

Ted Ginn Jr. is back to receive the punt, and he's brought down at the San Francisco 34-yard line.

49ers First Drive: Alex Smith lines up under center with Frank Gore in the backfield. It's a draw play to Gore to the right side, where Gore makes one player miss and picks up five yards. Smith takes the next snap under center with Vernon Davis, Braylon Edwards and Ted Ginn split out wide on his right and Crabtree on the far left. Smith takes the snap, takes two steps back, and hits Michael Crabtree on the quick slant 12 yards downfield. Crabtree gets about three yards on the play and a 49ers first down.

Smith lines up in the shotgun with Gore to his left, and it's a handoff, but it's stopped quickly in the backfield, for a three-yard loss. Smith takes the second-down snap from the shotgun as well, Gore to his right. Gore picks up a big blitz and Smith dumps off to Davis on the left side, who gets four yards, but it brings up third down. It's another shotgun formation, with Kendall Hunter in the backfield, and Smith hands the ball off. Hunter picks up five yards but it still brings up a fourth down and the 49ers will have to punt.

Unrealistically, the punt goes through the back of the endzone.

Cardinals Second Drive: Skelton takes the snap from the shotgun and the 49ers rush five players. Ray McDonald beats his man and brings the pressure on Skelton, who tries to hit Roberts on a quick slant, but Willis gets in front of it and snags the interception, creating the game's first turnover.

After The Willis Pick: Smith lines up in the I formation and dumps off to Bruce Miller on the left side immediately, for a pickup of five yards. From a singleback formation, Smith hands off to Gore on the left side, and he picks up four yards, but it brings up a 3rd and 1 at the Arizona 18-yard line. Smith lines up in the I Formation with only Edwards split out on the right, and hands off to Gore, who runs to the left but is brought down for no gain when Delanie Walker can't secure his block. David Akers comes on and kicks the 35-yard field goal at 5:30 in the first quarter, giving the 49ers a 3-0 lead.

The Akers kickoff goes to the 21-yard line after a Stephens-Howling return.

Cardinals Third Drive: Skelton, from under center with Wells in the backfield motions his tight end from the right side to the left, lead blocking for Wells. It's a handoff to the left but the 49ers see it coming. NaVorro Bowman forces Wells to cut back, right into Patrick Willis, who hits him and forces a fumble! Donte Whitner was right behind Willis and he scoops it up and runs it into the end zone for a touchdown. An Akers extra point gives them a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Akers is getting a lot of work here - his kick goes into the end zone and Stephens-Howling takes a knee.

After The Fumble Return Touchdown: Skelton beings this drive from the shotgun and hits Williams over the middle for a nine yard gain before the 49ers can mount any pressure. Again from the shotgun, the snap is low but Skelton handles it, and he hits Fitzgerald on the left side for a short gain and a first down. The next play is a completion to Todd Heap, over the middle again, for a gain of nine yards. Skelton, sticking to the shotgun, but with two backs on either side of him, hands off to Wells, who is brought down by Justin Smith after a one-yard gain and an Arizona first down. The Cardinals are driving here. Now it looks like I spoke too soon, as Skelton goes from the offset I-formation, does play action to Wells and then tries to hit Early Doucet immediately after turning around, on an out route. Doucet thought he had Tarell Brown beat, but Brown turned and undercut the route beautiful, and created yet another turnover, picking off the ball. Dashon Goldson actually got in front of it as well - either one would have picked it off. It's another turnover.

After The Interception: Smith takes the snap near midfield from under center with Gore on his left, stands, reads, and hits Ginn for a three-yard gain on the right side, his dumpoff option while Gore stayed in to block. On second down, it's uinder center again and Edwards goes on motion. Smith drops back, looks, and hits Ginn again, this one for five yards, bringing up a 3rd and 2. Smith, once again in the singleback formation, motions Delanie Walker to the left side as though he's going to lead block for Gore. The Cardinals bite, but Smith doesn't even go for a play action, he immediately knows Walker enough for the first in the left flat, and he picks it up and a couple more.

Smith lines up under center on first down, in the I-formation. He lobs a deep ball to Vernon Davis along the right sideline, and it's a mistake. Adrian Wilson picks it off and it's the first 49ers turnover. Davis doesn't even go for the ball, which was mostly on target.

After Smith's Interception: Skelton lines up under center with only a few seconds remaining, and Justin Smith beats his guy to get to him and bring him down for a sack. Isaac Sopoaga was also there on the pressure. It brings the end of the first quarter with the 49ers leading 10-0, and was a seven-yard sack.

At 2nd and 17 from their own six-yard line, Skelton lines up in the shotgun with two running backs on either side. It's a quick play action, and he hits Roberts for ten yards over the middle, bringing up a 3rd and 7. He once again takes the snap from shotgun, this one with an empty backfield.  He gets the ball to Williams, but he's brought down big time by Whitner, and the Cardinals are forced to punt.

Ginn takes the punt from the 21 to the 34-yard line.

After The Punt: Smith goes under shotgun with Gore to his right, and hits Ted Ginn, once again, over the middle, this one for exactly ten yards. Ginn spun and beat the corner no problem on the play. From I-formation, Smith hands off to Gore on the right side, who gets a good block by Miller, and picks up nine yards. The 49ers are showing a run to the right side by their formation on the next play, but Smith tosses it to Gore, who picks up two yards and a first down. Under center, I-formation, Gore hands off to Gore up the middle for a three-yard gain. Smith lobs one to Davis again, on the left side, and it's overthrown, bringing up a third down. He had a guy over the middle that would have picked up about ten yards, but didn't see him. From the gun, Smith hits Ginn over the middle again, and the 49ers have a fourth down at the 36-yard line. They'll bring Akers out for the long field goal, and he drills it from 53 yards back, giving the 49ers a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.

Akers' kick goes to Patrick Peterson, who kneels it down in the endzone.

Following The Field Goal: They elect to go with the shotgun again, and it pays off. Skelton hits Roberts on the left side, beating Ahmad Brooks, and Whitner makes the tackle, but not before an Arizona first down. With a singleback formation now, Skelton hands off to Wells on the left side, who picks up three. Offset I-formation, Skelton hands off again, and Wells gets another couple of yards, bringing up a 3rd and 3 near midfield. Skelton goes deep to Fitzgerald, but it's Whitner on the coverage, and it's almost picked off. They're forced to punt.

Ginn fields the punt at the 15, but is instantly brought down.

After The Arizona Punt: Smith lines up singleback, and Walker motions to the left and then back, lead blocking for Gore, who takes the handoff and gets seven yards. If Gore didn't have to jump over a fallen player, it would have been a big gain, with Adam Snyder making a big block in front of him. From the gun, Smith hands off to Gore, but Haggans stops him unblocked for a one-yard loss, and the 49ers have a 3rd and 4. Smith goes from the gun with an empty backfield and throws a horrible pass way out of bounds with nobody in his face. 49ers will punt.

Andy Lee's punt goes to the 30, and Aldon Smith makes the tackle at the 39.

After Smith's Hilariously Bad Pass: Skelton with the full hous backfield, drops back and throws a quick pass over the middle to Roberts, but the route is jumped by cornerback Chris Culliver at the middle of the field, and he gets a lane on the left side, taking it back in for six, and the 49ers have a 20-0 lead over the Cardinals with 2:40 remaining in the half.

Akers' kick goes just inside the end-zone and Stephens-Howling brings it out to the 24-yard line.

Next Cardinals Possession: Skelton, again from under center is immediately pressured by Isaac Sopoaga and McDonald, he just throws the ball into the air, it hangs, but Wells catches it and actually makes a couple players miss, and turns it into a respectable eight-yard gain. Continuing from the gun, Skelton takes the snap, waits for something open, and then takes off to the right. After a yard, he's hit hard by WIllis and we reach to two-minute warning.

Facing a third down with one to go, Skelton takes the shotgun snap. He's looking left, and doesn't see McDonald beat his man and he's brought down hard, giving McDonald another sack for seven yards. The 49ers take a timeout and Arizona will be forced to punt. The punt goes to around the 28, and Ginn takes it to the 35. Tramaine Brock is hurt on the play.

With The First Half Clock Running Out: Smith drops back, and hits Ginn over the middle again, for four yards. Then it's ... Ginn over the middle, for six yards. Huh. The 49ers hurry up and Smith drops back a lot, and throws to Davis, who gets his hands on it, but drops the pass, stopping the clock. Ginn is bring thrown to on out routes on almost every play, it seems. On second down, Darnell Dockett beats Jonathan Goodwin and Gore can't get in his way, so Smith is brought down for an eight-yard sack. The 49ers will kill time on the clock at this point, then run the ball. Hunter takes the carry for a couple yards and the Cardinals let the clock run out.

Halftime: The 49ers have created a lot of turnovers in the first half and are doing enough offensively to keep ahead. I like that AKers was counted on for a 50+ yard field goal, which doesn't happen often on Madden. Halftime shows the 49ers Gold Rush cheerleaders dancing much better than I know for a fact they can actually dance in real life. San Francisco leads 20-0, and will get the opening kickoff for the second half.

First 49ers Drive: Smith is sacked, or possibly brought down for no gain after shrugging off a would-be sack. Bruce Miller motions to the left on the next play, and makes a huge block. Gore shrugs off a tackler and breaks a big one, with a 28-yard gain before being pushed out of bounds. It's Gore again on the next play, for three yards, and the Cardinals have an injury, but I can't spot who it was. Gore is brought down behind the line of scrimmage on the next play, so the 49ers are forced to punt.

After The Punt: Wells is dropped for a loss by Willis on the carry. Parys Haralson beats his man on the next play, and sacks Skelton for a seven-yard loss. The next play, McDonald beats his guy again and brings Skelton down at the three-yard line. The Cardinals have to punt, and it's almost blocked. Ginn gets the ball at about midfield and is tackled instantly. 

Punting All Day: Smith misses Davis over the middle on the first play. He lobs it to Crabtree on second down, who catches it right at the marker and gets a first down. Smith then throws it to Ginn, who is blown up big time and fumbles it. The Cardinals get the ball and get it to midfield. Bad turnover.

After The Fumble: Skelton throws incomplete, then tosses it to Wells who picks up five on second down. Culliver is blown up by Wells on the play. The next pass is incmplete and the Cardinals have a fourth and five, and they go for it. The pass is broken up and the 49ers take over.

After The Turnover On Downs: Edwards catches his first pass, a short one over the middle, and he turns it into a big gain, going into Arizona territory. Then Smith throws another lob, this one into triple coverage on Bruce Miller, but it's not picked off, just batted down. He then hits Edwards again, on the right side, for ten yards and a first down. Gore gets a five-yard carry. Smith goes to the endzone to Crabtree, but the ball falls incomplete and almost picked. Facing a 3rd and 5 at the 17-yard line, Smith takes the snap from the shotgun with Gore on his right.  Davis motions right and Smith throws it to Michael Crabtree, who gets the firstdown and takes it to the two-yard line, but he's hit hard and now HE fumbles the ball. Arizona recovers and takes over at the two.

After Another 49ers Fumble: A couple runs and the Cardinals have a 3rd and 2. They go with another run, but Patrick Willis breaks through the line and makes the tackle for a loss. Ginn takes the ball at midfield and gains a yard after the punt.

After A Quick Arizona Drive: Smith goes over the middle to Crabtree, who picks up ten yards. The third quarter comes to an end, with the 49ers ahead 20-0. A couple plays later, the 49ers have a 3rd and 1 . It's a toss to Gore, and he loses five, so the 49ers bring out Akers for a 51-yard field goal attempt. He drills it, and the 49ers take a 23-0 lead.

Akers Is A G: Arizona has the ball at the 18-yard line. Skelton rushes for eight yards. Then he hits Roberts on the left sideline, who gets away from a tackler and has open room. The game sort of glitches out as Willis bounces off of him and Roberts has a huge touchdown. Arizona goes for two, and a completion over the middle to Larry Fitzgerald makes it good. 49ers lead 23-8 after the fourth-quarter Arizona score. Ginn takes the ball to the 24-yard line.

Whoops, They Scored: Smith hands off to Gore, who picks up four yards. Gore gets another handoff, and breaks two subsequent tackles and is off to the race,s he takes the ball from behind the 30 across midfield and all the way to the nine-yard line before beind forced out of bounds. Smith drops back to pass and is immediately sacked on first down though, bringing up a second and goal at the 15-yard line. Smith dumps off to Miller on the right side, and he picks up six yards. 3rd and goal with nine to go, Smith takes the snap from under center, I-formation. It's a handoff to Kendall Hunter up the middle, and Hunter breaks a tackle and is brought down across the line and into the endzone, giving the 49ers a 30-0 lead after the David Akers extra point.

Haha, We Scored Too: Haralson and Justin Smith stop Wells in the backfield on the first down carry, and then Smith slams into Skelton on second down for his second sack of the day, bringing up a 3rd and 18. Skelton throws it out of bounds and the Cardinals will have to punt.

Hmmm, More Punting: Gore takes a handoff and breaks a tackle, picking up 12 yards. Gore takes the next handoff, makes a huge cut, and once again picks up major yardage, bringing the 49ers to the nine-yard line and threatening another score. Smith scrambles for six yards and the 49ers have a 2nd and goal. A toss to Gore to the right side loses yardage and they're set up at 3rd and goal at the seven yard line. Hunter takes the third down carry and picks up five yards, and Akers will come out for another field goal. The two minute warning comes and Akers lines up, drilling the short field goal

After More Awesomeness: Skelton, from the shotgun, hits Roberts for seven yards. They go with the hurry up. Skelton is then brought down for a nine-yard sack by Ahmad Brooks. On third down, Arizona gets a completion, but it brings up a 4th and 6. They'll take a timeout for some reason, and then punt the ball. 

49ers Killin' That Clock: Gore rushes for two yards and the game comes to an end.

Final Score - San Francisco 49ers 33, Arizona Cardinals 8

Patrick Willis is your player of the game.


319 Total Offense 137
198 Rushing 28
121 Passing 109
3(+1) Turnovers 4 (-1)
2-12 (16%) 3rd Down Conv. 0-9 (0%)
0-0 Penalties 0-0
34:42 Posession Time 13:18

QB Alex Smith 17/24 135 YDS 0 TD, 1 INT

QB John Skelton 11/21 155 YDS 0 TD, 3 INT

HB Frank Gore 23 Carries, 165 YDS, 7.1 AVG, 5 BTK

HB Kendall Hunter 6 Carries, 26 YDS, 4.3 AVG, 1 TD

HB Beanie Wells 10 Carries, 19 YDS, 1.9 AVG

WR Michael Crabtree 4 REC, 50 YDS

WR Ted Ginn Jr. 6 REC, 22 YDS

WR Larry Fitzgerald 2 REC, 10 YDS

WR Andrew Robersts 5 REC, 113 YDS

LB Patrick Willis 8 TAK, 3 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF, 2 PDEF

DE Ray McDonald 4 TAK, 2 SACK

DE Justin Smith 5 TACKLES, 2 TFL, 2 SACK

CB Chris Culliver 1 INT

DT Darnell Dockett 6 TAK, 3 TFL, 1 SACK

K David Akers 4/4, 53 Long

Postgame: That was an entertaining game to watch, as you can see by the about 3,500 words I wrote about it. Gore got a ton of yards and Alex Smith was efficient enough. His interception was a fluke and Skelton was abused. Let's hope it plays out in a similar fashion, yeah?