The funny thing about Madden games is how they adjust stats mid-season. Common sense tells me if a team is 2-10 and another team is 4-8, the 4-8 team is probably just a wee bit better. Nope, not with these stat adjustters. When I sat down to simulate the game I got a notice that things were getting updated.
"Great!" I said. "This game needs an update."
Of course once I reshuffled everything in the rosters and got everything ready for the simulation, I noticed this (check the lower left/right corners of the team's boxes):
Wonderful. I love the logic the programmers put into this game. I'm anxious to see how this ends. I did like seeing this as one of the loading screens, though:
Ok, let's do this.
The Browns received and began a largely passing oriented first series that nearly took them near midfield. Unfortunately, Manziel had some awful throws, and a key drop on 3rd and 9 that lead to a punt on the Browns 48 yard line.
The 49ers offense wasn't much better, going 3 and out and handing the ball back to Cleveland right where they left off. From there, the Browns started rushing at 4 yards a clip and a nice pass to Taylor Gabriel for 21 yards put the browns onto the 49ers 30 yard line. Luckily, Isaiah Cromwell's rushes stunted and he got nailed for a 4 yard loss to bring up a 40 yard field goal that was missed buy Travis Coons.
The next 49ers offensive possession went pass, pass, pass, and then punt to give the Browns another shot at the game's first touchdown. The Browns gained only a single first down with it before having to punt the ball back to the 49ers. A single rush by Shaun Draughn gave the 49ers three yards and brought the end of the quarter.
Draughn continued the rushing attack, yanking 4 yards a clip and getting the 49ers a couple of 1st downs. Once they neared midfield, the four yard runs turned to three yards and a bubble screen to Quinton Patton that gained no yardage led to another punt. The punt though was a thing of beauty getting downed on the Cleveland 4 yard line. Take that Lee!
The Browns went three and out and punted the ball back to midfield. The drive was awful, however, with a 3 yard loss on a Shaun Draughn carry, a seven yard loss on a Blaine Gabbert sack (Eric Pears missed his guy) and a pass to Tavaris Cadet that was questionable at best.
With the punt, the Browns offense had some life with a couple of nice rushes by Isaiah Cromwell and a pretty good 30 yard pass to Taylor Gabriel to put the browns at midfield. Manziel continued airing the ball out, nailing Brian Hartline and Isaiah Cromwell for decent gains into San Francisco territory. All this ended on the San Francisco 38 yard line, when the secondary clamped down and allowed no more of this Manziel passing, forcing him to scramble for a 3 yard gain on 3rd and 10. It left open a 52 yard field goal by Travis Coons that was again missed and gave the niners decent field position
Blaine Gabbert showed everyone in video game land he's a real American and nailed Blake Bell for 15 yards and then Torrey Smith for 26 yards putting them into the redzone for the first time in the game. After an encroachment penalty, Gabbert hit Quinton Patton for another 11 yards and then let Shaun Draughn finish the job to put the Niners on the board.
Score 7-0, 49ers
The Browns received and took a knee to finish out the half.
The 49ers received and proceeded to go 3 and out to start the half. The Browns got a single 1st down, but didn't do much better, sending the ball back, but the might of Andy Lee put it on the San Francisco 7 yard line. The field position helped in getting another three and out and having Pinion send a punt to Cleveland's 40 yard line.
Manziel hit Brian Hartline a few times for big gains, once at 29 yards and another at 11 to put the Browns in the redzone. The Browns tried sending Cromwell further, but the 49ers defensive line clamped down and finished the good looking drive with a sack on Manziel for a seven yard loss. Luckily for the Browns, Travis Coons made his field goal.
Score 7-3, 49ers
The 49ers took the kickoff out of the endzone and went for an awful, awful drive consisting of two runs for a loss and a sack to punt from the 10 yard line and put the ball on midfield.
Manziel hit Brian Hartline again for 19 yards, but the following pass was picked off by Tramaine Brock with a sweet 18 yard runback.
The 49ers took over again with two runs by Shaun Draughn to bring us up to 3rd and 3 and finish out the quarter.
Blaine Gabbert hit Anquan Boldin for 24 yards to start things off an put the 49ers just outside of the redzone. From there, the 49ers fed Tavaris Cadet constantly, and he chinked away at the Browns defense again and again until there was nothing but the endzone left for a touchdown.
Score 14-3, 49ers
After getting the ball back, the 49ers defense forced the Browns to go for it on 4th down, on the Cleveland 20. A questionable call with 4:10 left in the game, but Johnny Manziel nailed Brian Hartline for 15 yards and the conversion. The Browns continued converting on third downs, doing nothing but pass plays until they landed on the San Francisco 10. Three rushes by Isaiah Crowell was enough to punch it in. The Browns managed a 2 point conversion with a pass to non other than Brian Hartline, who has been a beast today.
Score 14-11, 49ers
The ensuing kickoff lead to a holding penalty which put the 49ers offense inside the 10 to start. While the offense couldn't do much of anything to start, despite a few halfway decent rushes, a facemask penalty against the Browns moved the 49ers out of the small field and onto the 28 yard line. From there the niners managed rushing the ball with Shaun Draughn and Tavaris Cadet, until they hit midfield. Unfortunately on the first play at the 50 yard line, Cadet fumbled the ball, picked up by none other than Dante Whitner.
The Browns managed to quickly move the chains with a few long passes to Brian Hartline and an 8 yard touchdown pass to Taylor Gabriel for the score. Crap. At least Coons missed the extra point.
Score 14-17, Browns
With 1:11 to go, the 49ers took a touchback and started the hurry-up offense. Blake Bell would save the offense on 3rd down, taking passes and going 8-11 yards each time. At the 49, with 2 seconds to go, and on 4th down, Blaine Gabbert threw another miraculous throw to Quinton Patton for 33 yards, putting them on the 20 yard line and burned a timeout to get Phil Dawson on the field. The kick was good, and we're going into overtime.
The 49ers received and went 3 and out. The Browns, on the other hand started with a 15 yard pass to Brian Hartline, and then deployed Isaiah Cromwell for 4-5 yards a carry until they came to the San Francisco 35. The 49er defense allowed the team to go no further, and Cleveland elected to not try a field goal and instead punted it away.
The 49ers hit Anquan Boldin to start the drive with a 12 yard gain and then Tavaris Cadet went to work taking the ball midfield. Blaine Gabbert took a scramble on the first play at midfield to gain another 7 yards and get the 49ers closer to finishing this game off. The rushing attack continued with Cadet gashing the Cleveland defense and Blaine Gabbert getting put into some designed QB runs.
But of course, this was looking good. On the 25 yard line, Tavaris Cadet fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Browns. The Browns couldn't do anythign with it and punted the ball back to the 49ers with 39 seconds to go. The clock ticked as the niners went down the field, unfortunately time expiered and we have a tie.
Final Score 17-17, TIE
If this game ends in a tie, I don't know what to think. The fumbles killed the 49ers, though given what I experienced in my undefeated attempt, I'm not too surprised they would fumble once getting in scoring range. Madden doesn't like it when the inferior team wins, most of the time. Given that Johnny Manziel threw for 303 yards, I'm really not buying the outcome of this simulation.
A tie. Womp Womp Womp