I did intend on breaking things and screaming 4 letter words while doing numerous attempts at playing the Steelers. After all, if the Vikings gave me numerous resets of games, the Steelers, an arguably much stronger team was going to make me go flat insane right?
Well, no. Actually, the Steelers were easier. A lot easier.
First, a few updates. Since the biggest update in Madden happened AFTER I started my epic journey, I did in fact restart the season, put the game on very easy and blasted through the Vikings to get back to the Steelers. This time it wasn't near as aggravating since I kind of cheated (easiest difficulty, among other things) but everything has been reset back to normal. I did this so we could purge players like Darnell Dockett from the roster. Yes, I could have done this myself, but I figured it may help with a more accurate Madden score. I won't be doing this again, so these are the 49ers I'm stuck with.
Just a quick reminder: I'm playing the game on the "Pro" difficulty and I'm running 6 minute quarters. Everything else, injuries, penalties, etc. Is turned on.
The commentary may or may not have been turned off.
True to life?
Last week, I said the Vikings had issues with me blitzing all over the place and what happened? Well, in real life the Vikings had issues with the 49ers defense dialing up blitzes through the night. Coincidence? I think not. My other observations like weak protection were apparently false. Then again, I was running plays with Kap in the pocket and real life had Kaepernick rolling out.
Alright, here come the Steelers. Keep in mind, in franchise mode, certain players are not suspended. That means players like Le'Veon Bell were allowed to run to their hearts content. This will be updated in our simulation.
The Steelers received and then began to carve the Niners defense with their running game. The gameplan worked; when Bell wasn't deployed, Big Ben was able to hit receivers in stride for decent gains. There really wasn't anything glitchy, instead, the computer just ran plays that worked and I ran the opposite. This led to a Bell touchdown from the 3 yard line.
Once the Niners got the ball back, Carlos Hyde was unleashed and I took him in chunks down the field running through the tackles. Once I hit the 50 yard line, Anquan Boldin caught a bomb on the 1 yard line. This set up a QB sneak with Colin Kaepernick for the touch down.
Despite me taking it down the field, I knew already this wasn't going to end well. Despite costing the Steelers with a Navarro Bowman sack for 2nd and 19, he wound up connecting with Antonio Brown for an 80 yard touchdown pass. I knew this was a bad sign and reset the game.
The game started pretty awesome. So awesome, I had Torrey Smith run the ball in for a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Sure, whenever you get those it's mostly pure luck, but it's enough to get you jacked.
Nothing really happened besides a pair of three and outs, until 3rd and 6 when Big Ben hit Antonio brown with a 50 yard circus catch. One handed. In double coverage. While my jaw remained dropped, the Steelers had Le'Veon Bell take it 15 yards for their first TD.
From there, I was seriously considering resetting the game due to the momentum swing, but I really had nothing else better to do, so I kept at the tie score.
The resulting possession allowed Madden to happen. After a 20 yard pass to Boldin not only went uncaught, it also bounced off his hands, alley oop style and back towards a waiting linebacker for an interception. Yeah...I wish I took video of this play. I was kicking myself for not remembering to get video of it on the PlayStation 4 after I shut the game down.
The following possession led to a field goal for Pittsburgh and I really had my finger on the reset button.
On the ensuing drive, Kaepernick nailed Torrey Smith with a 4th down bomb to set up a Carlos Hyde touchdown. This also gave me personal gratitude to hear the commentary wonder what the hell I was doing going for it on 4th down with 3 minutes left in the half. The next Steelers possession led to no points and I was able to kick a field goal before the half.
The second half was more amusing. with no one really doing anything, I set the Niners up for a 3rd down blitz which Le'Veon Bell somehow juked around and went 40 yards for a touchdown.
However, to tie the game up in the 4th quarter, I stormed down the field using Carlos Hyde and hit Vance McDonald of all people as time expired for the touch down.
Now you'd think I'd kick a field goal and go into overtime. But this is Madden, no way in hell I'm doing that. I ran Carlos Hyde up the gut for the extra point and ended the game right there.
The commentary again wondered why I did that even though I won.
Boy I'm glad Bell won't be in the game on Sunday: This guy was running all over the place and even got out of a couple gap blitzes for huge gains.
Kaepernick was able to make a few beautiful throws against the secondary: I was expecting that, but not the success of bombs to Smith or Boldin like I did.
The success of this game rests on Big Ben: Ben Roethlesberger was able to throw the ball all over the place with little trouble. If this is any indication, I'm hoping the Niners D in real life can step up.
Since I had little trouble with this one, I'm a bit worried. I'm afraid this season will be an opposite reflection on the field. I personally think after what we saw on Monday, the Niners will beat the Steelers, but after this game, I'm afraid I've already gotten a glimpse of what may happen.
Or I'm just reading too much into a simple franchise play-through of Madden.