So far, Madden is 0-1 in simulations for this season with us. Last week it predicted a 34-13 blowout by the Minnesota Vikings. That didn't exactly happen. This week the results are still not favorable, but at least I can see this outcome at least believable.
On the Niners side of the ball, Reggie Bush is removed. On the Steelers side, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant are both removed due to their respective suspensions. Let's see how this turns out.
49ers received and Carlos Hyde was again unleashed, taking carries four yards a pop. Kaepernick and Miller got into the run game too with a 8 yard run and a 2 yard run respectively. After a Carlos Hyde sweep for 17 yards that took them to the Pittsburgh 7 yard line, the Niners channeled their inner Greg Roman and tried running it up the gut twice for losses. Luckily, Colin Kaepernick nailed Quinton Patton on 3rd down for the touch down.
Score 7-0, 49ers
The Steelers offense took the field and Ben Roethlisberger immediately hit Antonio brown on 1st and 10 for a 15 yard gain. From there, Pittsburgh stuck to short, 5-8 yard passes to dink and dunk the Niners, with the occasional DeAngelo Williams run which also gashed the Niners for 5-8 yards. Once they came to the 49ers 30 yard line, the drive stalled with an overthrown pass to Antonio brown and a pair of sacks by NaVarro Bowman.
Unfortunately, the ensuing punt backed the San Francisco offense onto their own 8 yard line. They questionably ran a shotgun run, which was sniffed out by the Steeler defense to push them back to the San Francisco 5 yard line and end the quarter.
On 3rd and 7, Kaepernick shrugged off a tackle and threw the ball away, letting Bradley Pinion punt out of their endzone. Luckily, Pinion punted the ball 65 yards and the Niners' special teams stopped the return at the Pittsburgh 30. The Niners defense managed a 3 and out, thanks to some really bad ducks thrown by Ben Roethlisberger.
The Niners offense didn't produce much better than the Pittsburgh offense, reverting to the Run Run Pass pattern we all know and love. 3 and out.
The Pittsburgh offense nailed a 40 yard bomb to Antonio Brown which was enough for DeAngelo Williams to run it in 3 plays later.
Score: 7 - 7, Tie
Yet another 3 and out by the 49er offense, done by three dumb running plays, handed the ball back to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh couldn't get anything going either, with the 49er defense stopping DeAngelo Williams twice and playing volleyball with a Ben Roethlisberger pass that ultimately ended incomplete.
The Niners offense had a great first play with a Carlos Hyde run going 9 yards. Unfortunately the following play action resulted in Kaepernick taking a sack. Nothing to worry though, Kaepernick nailed Vernon Davis on 3rd and 11 in stride, taking it to Pittsburgh's 40 yard line.
But of course that would feel good for five seconds, because Kaepernick threw an interception on the very next play. Interestingly enough he just threw it to the defender, there were no white uniforms in site. From there, Roethlisberger started throwing dimes to his receivers and putting them into the redzone. Despite sacks from Antoine Bethea and Ahmad Brooks, the Steelers scored with a wide open Antonio Brown to end the half.
Score: 14-7, Steelers
Things didn't get better to start the 3rd quarter with a kickoff return to the Niners 30 yard line. Despite a sack by Ahmad Brooks, Ben Roethlisberger AGAIN connected with Antonio Brown with a TD pass that should have been intercepted. Instead, Brown reached over the defender and caught it for six points.
Score 21-7, Steelers
San Francisco, Again, tried to run the ball and again the gains were minimal. This led to another punt by Bradley Pinion inside the Steeler's 30 yard line. After a rush for a minimal gain, Ben Rothlisberger was intercepted by Jaquiski Tartt. The resulting turnover ended with a dropped pass and two bad running plays, but the field goal (finally) gave the Niners points.
Score: 21-10, Steelers
Pittsburgh and San Francisco started trading three and outs until the final minutes of the quarter when the 49er offense started putting together a decent drive--which was more pass heavy this time. The Niners ate yards up to the Pittsburgh 30 yard line. That was when a Colin Kaepernick fumble, recovered by the 49ers brought us to the end of the 4th quarter.
The Niners impressive drive ended in another field goal. Thanks, in part to two dropped Torrey Smith passes
Score: 21-13, Steelers
The Steelers began running the ball, taking chunks of yardage at four yards and five yards a carry. The San Francisco defense had nothing to answer for any of these running plays where a 1st down was made every one or two carries. The drive quickly ended in a Heath Miller touchdown pass.
Score: 28-13, Steelers
The Niners offense again started slinging the ball. First for short carries to Anquan Boldin and Carlos Hyde to get a first down. After taking a sack, Kaepernick nailed Vernon Davis on 2nd and 15 for a 65 yard touchdown, keeping the Niners in this game.
Score: 28-20, Steelers
The Steeler offense again began to get going after the kickoff, but a holding penalty on 2nd and 4 stalled the drive and led to a punt.
The Niners offense slung the ball around in an amusing pattern. Kaepernick would hit a receiver for 15 yards, then take a sack. Another receiver for 20 yards, another sack. This dance continued until Colin Kaepernick nailed Anquan Boldin for a 23 yard touchdown. The Niners, however, failed at making the two point conversion to tie the game.
Score 28-26, Steelers
With just over two minutes to go, the Niners were able to stop DeAngelo williams twice for a loss. On 3rd and 12, Ben Roethlisberger lined up in the pistol and the ensuing running play gave Williams 15 yards and a first downm Enough to let Pittsburgh run down the clock.
This score seems a bit more believable than the Minnesota one last week. I do find it strange how the AI continued shoving Carlos Hyde down Pittsburgh's throat when it clearly wasn't working. The run game had a great start, but after the first scoring drive, Hyde was continually snuffed out and stopped. Once San Francisco went pass heavy, they were moving the ball down the field. Why the AI didn't do this sooner is beyond me.
Let's hope for a 0-2 simulation.