Predicting Madden AI with a backup quarterback is probably tricky, because the people who evaluate player scores have not seen the backup in game day situations. We don't think McCarron is terrible, but it's certainly even more inaccurate (if our Madden scores are ever accurate) to think how McCarron plays gives us any indication against the San Francisco 49ers. It's almost like the preseason rankings when you first buy the game.
In any case, let's see how the Bengals do against the 49ers.
The 49ers received and began a largely run-dominated drive, that got really interesting with a 15 yard pass to Vance McDonald. After that pass, the niners went back to chipping away at the Bengals defense and were stopped at the 30 yard line. It was enough for a Phill Dawson field goal to put the team on the board:
Score: 3-0, Niners
The Bengals got the ball back and A.J. McCarron started carving the 49ers secondary. He nailed A.J. Green for 15 yards out of the gate, let Giovanni Bernard take it for seven and then lobbed one to Tyler Croft for another 16. The pass to Mohamed Sanu for 15 yards didn't help either. Once the Bengals hit the 20 yard line, all the magic of the backup vanished and the Bengals receivers had some ugly, ugly drops three times in a row to force a simple Mike Nuget field goal.
Score 3-3, Tie
While the Niners managed a meager 11 yards on the next possession for a 1st down, a sack and two drops forced a punt back to the Bengals and the quarter came to an end.
Giovonni Bernard had a very nice 15 yard run through the middle of the field, but on the next play, A.J. McCarron nailed Navarro Bowman for a 17 yard interception, giving the 49ers great field position.
The 49ers just ran the ball, ran the ball, and ran it again. A holding penalty on the Bengals defense kept things alive, and the runs put the 49ers five yard line where they were then stuffed, stuffed, and a stupid 0 yard pass to Anquan Boldin left the 49ers with a field goal for all that work.
Score 6-3, 49ers
The Bengals got the ball back and McCarron couldn't do much of anything, but the 49ers defense was there to help him with a defensive holding penalty and a facemask penalty to move the ball down the field.After the penalties (that came on 3rd down) the Bengals went back to their running game, gashing the 49ers for six yards a clip and coming to the 20 yard line where they again hit a stone wall and walked away with another field goal.
Score 6-6, Tie
The 49ers got the ball and Blaine Gabbert went to the two minute drill, nailing Torrey Smith twice in a row for an 18 yard pass and a 9 yard dart. DeAndrew White came into the game and caught a nice 17 yard catch, and got another 15 yards tacked on thanks to the Bengals defense grabbing his facemask. The resulting yardages put the 49ers just outside the 20 yard line with 1:15 to go. While the offense tried their hardest to stunt another gifted redzone trip, Blaine Gabbert nailed Quinton Patton for a walk in touchdown.
Score 13-6, 49ers
The Bengals received and A.J. McCarron threw an interception to Kenneth Acker on 2nd and 10, putting the niners on the 20 yard line with 30 seconds left, and a chance to make this very ugly.
Blaine Gabbert had a nice scramble for 10 yards, which led to a time out, and then Shaun Draughn caught a nice screen pass and walked in.
Score 20-6, 49ers
With around 15 seconds left, the Bengals received the kickoff and then took a knee.
The Bengals got the ball to start the second half and opened with a very ugly three and out. The highlight being a 1 yard run by Giovanni Bernard.
The 49ers offense actually got moving, briefly, thanks to Torrey Smith hauling in another pass for 18 yards. The offense stopped there, however, and was forced to punt on the 50 yard line. The Bengals put a stop to that and knocked Bradley Pinion out before he could get the kick off. Despite being at midfield, the Bengals went 3 and out and punted the ball back to San Francisco again.
San Francisco channeled in their aura of old and went 3 and out, sending the ball right back, and A.J. McCarron forgot he was A.J. McCarron, throwing some nice passes down field. Once they came to the 30 yard line, the Bengals abandoned the pass and started running it in at 4 yards a clip. Once hitting the 10 yard line, the quarter came to an end.
The Bengals did one more run and then A.J. McCarron hit A.J. Green for a touchdown. A.J. COMBO!
Score 20-13, 49ers
Once getting the ball back, both teams' offenses stunted with two three and outs apiece. Once getting the ball back for their thirs possession since the touchdown, Blaine Gabbert nailed Anquan Boldin for a 12 yard catch that Q took for another 13 yards.
The clock hit 2:00 and the 49ers continued their balanced passing attack, running Shaun Draughn for 4 yards and then getting Vance McDonald involved for a couple nice gains. Once they came to the 45, they started letting Shaun Draughn and Tavaris Cadet take the carries and run the clock out as the Bengals took time outs. On 3rd and 3 it was ended with a 4 yard run by Cadet to the 20. At this point the Niners had full control and Gabbert took a knee.
Final Score: 20-13, 49ers.
I'm not sure what to think about this score, because I don't know what I should think of A.J. McCarron. Backup quarterbacks are sometimes nasty their first few games because teams quite simpy don't have any film on them. Austin Davis is a prime example of this as he lit up defenses for weeks over in St. Louis last year until teams caught up in further weeks making him come back to earth.
McCarron could very well give the 49ers defense fits this Sunday due to them not knowing what to expect. But this is the 49ers, and their inconsistency would not surprise me if this score is what the final score is.
Let's see what Sunday brings.