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Breaking The Game: 49ers vs Vikings

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Our first test in going undefeated in Madden is the Minnesota Vikings. This is already looking bad

As you probably know, I play Madden for more of a fantasy feel. I want to see the 49ers win the Super Bowl in the game, while steamrolling everyone in their path. The problem is, the Niners aren't supposed to win many games this year. Why is that important? Because Madden will cheat in order to make sure they lose. And my friends, when you play a video game against a computer who cheats, you don't have much of a chance.

But I don't care. I'm breaking the game. At the cost of my sanity, I felt it was necessary to run the table in Madden and take the Niners all the way to the Super Bowl. We'll have your actual simulation tomorrow. Until then, enjoy a descent into a man's madness. Each week, I'm going to document the many attempts I make at trying to beat a team in this game and tell you just how frustrating it can be.

Now, for week 1, you need to take some things into consideration. I haven't received an updated roster yet. So Darnell Dockett is playing on defense. Other things to consider: I'm using 6 minute quarters, playing on pro level, and I have penalties/injuries turned on.

Yes, I know a lot of you can play this on the highest difficulty setting in your sleep and have Washington go undefeated. Good for you.The rest of you can feel my pain.

Attempt 1:

The Vikings received in what started as a decent defensive effort. They ran Peterson on both 1st and 2nd down, leading to a 3rd and about 3. On the next play Peterson was stopped short of the marker by Navarro Bowman, but got the 1st down anyways. I challenged the play and lost.

Luckily, two plays later, Antoine Bethea intercepted Teddy Bridgewater, so I wasn't too peeved. Not so luckily, on the first play, Colin Kaepernick threw a pick to a linebacker that literally showed up out of nowhere. Regardless, I forced a 3 and out and managed to score when Anquan Boldin shrugged off a tackle on 3rd and inches.

By then though, the game was done with me scoring and quickly forced phantom encroachment on the defense for the first play of Minnesota's drive. What happened? Well the offense didn't get to the line, and the linebacker I was controller just jumped past the line of scrimmage (I didn't do anything with the controller).

Shortly thereafter, Teddy Bridgewater started going dink and dunk against my 3-4 base and nickel defenses, ending with Jarius Wright making a touchdown...after shrugging off two San Francisco defenders. Tackling him. Simultaneously. Yes, I scratched my head too.

Broke tackle

Once getting the ball back, Kaepernick forced a pick 6 and I just gave up. Time for attempt 2.

Attempt 2:

For some reason, Adrian Peterson was largely absent in this game. Bridgewater felt like throwing the ball all over the place, and I was happy to sack him 3 plays in a row to compensate. Of course, after I get the ball back, Kaepernick not only throws a pass that gets deflected, it lands in the defensive tackle's hands. After Bridgewater storms down the field and again gives a TD to Jarius Wright, I take my friend Carlos Hyde and march.  Once I decided to throw what should be a pass though, the ball saled through Anquan Boldin's body, and into a Viking defender for the pick. I really wish I was making this up. After seeing that, I hit reset. Or quit game. Or whatever you do to stop these rigged games from happening.

Attempt 3:

After the Vikings first drive resulted in a touchdown, I managed to take the Carlos Hyde the offense all the way down the field to to the 10 yard line and kicked a field goal. From there, the defense actually showed up. Minnesota failed to get anything going and once the second half started, I had Torrey Smith run the kickoff in for a touchdown.

From there, Minnesota's offense stuttered with 3 and outs through the second half. After a punt in the 3rd quarter, I managed to take the ball all the way downfield for another FG with about a minute and a half left. I started to like my chances.

"This is one in the books!" I said to myself.

Then Madden happened.

On 4th and 5, with a dime package, Teddy Bridgewater somehow hits Kyle Rudolph in stride. This resulted in the game going all the way down with 10 seconds left...to score a TD. Figures, knowing Madden. If any of you heard a loud snapping sound last night, it was my throwing my controller against the space needle and making it shatter.

Attempt 4:

Kaepernick's interception on the second play from scrimmage made me almost exit out and start over right then and there, However, I decided to see if I could maybe have the game screw up this time and kept at it. I forced a 3 and out from my passing blunder.

During the next drive, I am once again reminded to never ever bother challenging the game's officiating crew. This was made painfully obvious on 4th and 2 when Carlos Hyde clearly made it to the line, but the game said he was inches short. Whatever.

After another 3 n Out to the offense, Kaepernick threw another pick. About now, I just start to lose patience with the game and ran crazy plays (like blocking a field goal on 1st and 10) just to see if chaos will give me anything. Actually, running 4 Casino blitzes yielded a good result: An Aaron Lynch safety.

Sounds good right? Great start? We're gonna win this one? Nope. On the next offensive possession, with what looked like a clean pass to Anquan Boldin, Kaepernick was picked off by a linebacker sitting half the distance between Boldin and Kaepernick. This is interesting since I made the pass go high. Apparently, the Viking's linebackers can jump 35 feet in the air. That's accurate.

You know what happened next. Minnesota ran down the in the second half, got their touchdown and with 2 minutes to go, I need to punch it in. Playing clock management, I ran the team down to the 1-yard line with 45 seconds and all my time outs. Unlike Seattle, or our Super Bowl appearance, I made sure to run the ball. I pushed Hyde in twice, which the D stopped.

Then on the 1 yard line I ran a QB sneak. Kaepernick did in fact cross the plane, but much like the Rams game last year, Madden games are unable to review such a winning play. So I lost.

Attempt 5:

In just 3 plays, Minnesota gave up a gimmie interception to Dontae Johnson. I took advantage of it and quickly ran a pass to Anquan Boldin who shrugged off a tackle and took off for 30 or 40 yards to score (playing devil's advocate...how is that possible?).Sure this was an awesome start, but I've been burned by using logic before, so I was skeptical.

Boldin TD

Once the Vikings had the ball back, the AI encounters a glitch and Bridgewater throws a second pick to Eric Reid on the 50 yard line. The glitch? The game threw another pick while I was winning. I deployed Hyde and ran up the middle a few times to get us in field goal range and drove a kick through the uprights.

10-0. Let's see how I tank this.

With 3 minutes left in the half, Minnesota hit a huge bomb to Jarius Wright (again?!) which netted them a field goal. At the start of the second half, the Niners running game scored a 1st down, and then Kaepernick promptly threw several passes to Anquan Boldin that were caught, but later dropped (uh...how does that work? doesn't he have some of  the best hands in the game?). Keep in mind, I was using the aggressive catch for a few of those, which makes this even more head scratching. After taking Hyde 20 yards for another 1st down, Kaepernick threw an expected pick, from an expected inhuman, one armed grab that set up Minnesota's first TD.

The 4th quarter began and with my offense doing much of nothing, I punted the ball away. Oddly enough, Minnesota couldn't get anything going against my dime blitzes and I had a chance to finish this game off after a short punt to the 50 yard line.

And even more odd-the offense pounded the rock all the way to the 20 yard line, kicking a field goal as time expires.

Final Score: 13-10.

Observations:

Anquan Boldin was near useless: Aside from his two touchdowns, I don't know how many dropped passes he had, whether in coverage or not, but it wasn't the real life 'Q by a longshot. Vernon Davis wasn't much help either as he seemed to love dropping passes.

Kaepernick had no  protection: Yeah, well given what we've seen, that's pretty accurate.

Minnesota sucked against the blitz: When getting put on tilt, I resorted to goaline, gap-clogging blitzes that ruined the pass game and stopped Adrian Peterson in his tracks. Granted, he still found a way to juke around the line for a few gains, but for the most part, the offense was getting smashed hard until the inevitable rubber band mechanics came in.

The pass game was terrible: In my winning attempt, Kaepernick went 2-9. I don't fault him so much as I do the receivers not catching a ball to save their lives. Or the AI knowing where he was going. Or the O-line's protection.

Not many penalties on the Niners side of the ball: You'd think I'd get sabotaged with that.

Final Thoughts:

Minnesota came in at an 85 ranking while San Francisco was at 81. Given the trouble I had with this, I hate to see how Pittsburgh will be next week. My plan is to attack the secondary, but given how bad the pass mechanics in this game are, I'm sure somehow their defense will just pick Kap off a few dozen times.

Let's see how the AI does when it plays against itself in our full simulation tomorrow.