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49ers Madden 17 simulation: Here come the Cardinals

You know the drill.

We have a Thursday night game. It’s hard to accurately simulate the game for this reason. Madden 17 doesn’t take short weeks into account where both teams seem to have a bit of a different gameplan as opposed to the normal full week off they’d have.

In any case, here come the Cardinals. They haven’t been having a good first four weeks either. In fact, I’d say they are downright pissed off the way this season has gone for them. Last year, Madden had the Jim Tomsula-led 49ers blowing them out, in Arizona as one of its simulations. I doubt this one is anything like it. I just want a close game.

Quarter Length: 6 Minutes

Notable Inactives:

Arizona: TE Darren Fells, QB Carson Palmer, DT Ed Stinson

San Francisco: DT DeForest Buckner, CB Jimmie Ward

Uniform Colors: Color Rush Mode Enabled

Konami Code: Yeah, if only we could use that in the game and real life.

1st Quarter:

The 49ers received and had some success with Carlos Hyde on 1st and 2nd down, but it was the 30 yard pass to Jeremy Kerley on 3rd down that was a beauty. From there the 49ers offense stalled, thanks to a Blaine Gabbert sack but it was enough to get a 54 yard field goal out of Phil Dawson. This is the first time in Madden the 49ers have had to lead. Progress.

Score 3-0, 49ers

Out comes Drew Stanton. He nailed a 15 yard pass to Michael Floyd and then David Johnson was happy to gash the 49ers defense to their own 48 yard line. A shocker: the 49ers D kept them from going any further forcing a punt. It’s still early.

With the ball back, Blaine Gabbert went back to work and nickle and dimed the Cardinals defense to the 50 yard line to close out the quarter. Yep, not one pass past 10 yards.

2nd Quarter:

The 49ers continued their offensive assault using Carlos Hyde to gain decent amounts of yards. A holding penalty on 2nd and 8 (near the Arizona 10 yard line) put the 49ers back and stalled what was a decent drive. Things ended with another Phil Dawson field goal. We’re back to the Harbaugh years.

Score 6-0, 49ers

With the ball back, the Cardinals marched down the field via the passing game. A 30 yard pass to John Brown didn’t help, and Larry Fitzgerald picking up another 20 hurt also. Once at the 49ers 15 yard line, it just took a simple pass to John Brown for the first TD of the game. So long, lead.

Score 7-6, Cardinals

The 49ers offense again showed momentum, crossing the 50 yard line with help from a 30 yard Torrey Smith pass (remember him?), however an interception on the Arizona 30 yard line put a stop to any hope of regaining the lead.

Drew Stanton moved down the field quickly, thanks to some nice yards after catch from David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Once at the 49ers 5 yard line, he nailed Michael Floyd to extend the lead.

Score 14-6, Cardinals

With 1:30 left in the half, Gabbert again went to the short passing game and was again intercepted on the 49ers own 45 yard line by Tyrann Mathieu. The return set the Cardinals up at the San Francisco 10 yard line. Great.

It only took a single play, a pass to Michael Floyd, to get back in the endzone.

Score 21-6, Cardinals

The 49ers went three and out, punting the ball back to Arizona and letting the Cardinals take a knee to close out the half.

3rd quarter:

Arizona received and let David Johnson do whatever the hell he wanted. Once crossing the 50 yard line, they decided to let Larry Fitzgerald have a turn, leading to a 23 yard pass and another trip to San Francisco’s red zone.

While two passes were batted away on 1st and 2nd down, Drew Stanton once again nailed John Brown with an 18 yard pass to get into the endzone again.

Score 28-6, Cardinals

The 49ers went 3 and out (I know, total shocker) and sent the ball back to Arizona. A pass interference call brought the Cardinals out to midfield and several runs by David Johnson grinded the 49ers defense to their own 43 to close out the 3rd quarter.

4th Quarter:

Believe it or not, the 49ers actually held David Johnson in check and forced a punt. This gave them another 3 and out to show what they could not do.

Arizona got the ball back nearly where they punted from and went back to work, storming down the field with David Johnson and hitting a 14 yard Larry Fitzgerald TD. Ugh.

Score 35-6, Cardinals

The 49ers went for their last 3 and out and a Bradley Pinion shanked punt gave Arizona terrific field position. Thanks to a facemask by Arik Armstead on the very first play, the Cardinals were again on the 50 yard line. This time Chris Johnson came in to clean things up, even converting on 4th and 2. The massive running game allowed the 49ers to use their time outs, and for Arizona to run the clock. This one is over.

Final Score 35-6, Cardinals

Final Thoughts:

Given how the Cardinals have been coming up short lately, it’s all too apparent the 49ers are essentially being served on a silver platter. While I’d like consider the Cardinals are not as good as once predicted, even with Drew Stanton, the 49ers are far too vulnerable with the loss of Navarro Bowman to keep up with that offense. Drew Stanton isn’t a good starting NFL QB, but he’s a great backup that can get a team wins (see 2014 season).

On another note, Madden hasn’t been too far off with simulations lately. Interesting...