SB Nation: Online Madden Franchise - Week 1

So I am just going to assume you all saw the post by Fooch from Niners Nation a few weeks ago about starting this up. Right BTSC Bretherin? 

Anyway, I just played my first game in the online season against Bonhoffer from The Falcoholic, I have to say that he knows Madden damn well, pulling off some great play calls in the Redzone on both offence and defence. 

See how I got on after the jump.

So the final score was 24-21 to Bonhoffer with the Falcons winning on a last second field goal, however as we both said after the game, Trans-Atlantic lag definitely played it's part with me missing 3 relatively easy field goals due to a lag between me pressing the A button and it registering, resulting in 3 ugly pulls to the right which I was powerless to avoid.

I have to say that to all intents and purposes I dominated the game, with Big Ben Roethlisberger amassing a beautiful 443 yards passing, going 29-44 with 0 TD's and 1 Int. My go to guy on the day was the old reliable veteran Hines Ward who sowed some great prowess exploiting some zones over the middle and he ended up with 205yards receiving on 11 catches and 1 TD, his longest grab was a 55 yard score on 3rd and 10 in the 3rd quarter.

The game started with the Steelers receiving the opening kick, as the Falcons opted to defer. The ensuing drive lasted 5 minutes with me making it to their 28 yard line, a failed pass by Ben resulted in 4th down, this is I'm afraid where lag took over, as my kick hooked wildly left.

The Falcons could not muster anything on offence in the first quarter, with the Steelers D suffocating a very strong unit. This continued until mid way through the second quarter where a couple of screen passes to the shifty Jerious Norwood and some good juking by Bonhoffer resulted in a 5 yard running touchdown by Norwood on an outside give.

Feeling hard done by from the missed FG by Skippy the Steelers marched down the field like Roman Warriors, with some excellent work over the middle by Hines Ward and Antwan Randel-El, upon reaching the Redzone however the playcalling deteriorated, as I was possessed by Bruce Arians and decided to try to force a pass to Heath Miller in between the Safety and Linebackers in zone. This resulted in an ugly pick in the endzone, ending another promising Steelers drive. 

The Falcons promptly stepped up and with more quick screens to Norwood and a killer pass on 3rd down to Tony Gonzalez in their own half, the Falcons drove to our 5 yard line where Michael Turner promptly used all 3 downs and rumbled in for a 1 yard score on 3rd and goal.

Again, the Steelers drove down the field to the Falcons 18 yard line, with some very nice runs from Mendenhall to the inside, however again some great defenzive blitzing led to a 4th down and Skippy once again had to face the lag, resulting in another ugly pull. Another 3 and out followed for the Falcons, with a mis-timed punt by Koenen spotting the ball at the Falcons 46. A good catch over the middle by Hines Ward gave the Steelers a first down at the 33 of the Falcons. 2 Scampers of 4 yards by Mendenhall led to a 3rd and 2 for the Steelers, with Bruce Arians opting to throw to Heath Miller on 3rd down. Sean Wetherspoon stepped in front of the pass and nearly picked it off. I will not say what happened on 4th down, you can probably guess.

By this point things were not looking good for the inaugral match of this sure to be epic season. It was however in the second half that things started to turn around for my Steelers team, with a quick 3 and out for the Falcons after the kickoff, Antonio Brown was walloped on a punt return but held onto the ball like a champ. This rallied the team and a quick drag route to Mike "The Anchorman" Wallace turned into a 36 yard gain, a combination of slants, drags and comebacks resulted in a 3rd and1 from their 4 yard line, enter David Johnson who blew up Kroy Bierman creating a huge hole for Mendy to exploit for the 4 yard score. 

The defense really stepped up, with Troy and Timmons making some great plays on quick screens and a deep 3rd down pass to White where Troy dove in front of White, stopping what would have been a killer blow to the team.

The ensuing punt was caught for a fair catch by Brown, with us starting at our 19 yard line. Some good work by Mendy on a screen, and a good catch by ARE we had a 1st down on our 44. With Mendy being stopped for no gain on a first down draw play, Ben tried to hit Mike Wallace on a crossing route on 2nd down, the play was stopped by Dunta Robinson however. This resulted in a 3rd and 10, which I decided to go 4 WR on, Hines Ward ran a beautiful deep in, schooling both a safety and corner back and getting WIDE open deep, Ben hit him perfectly in stride and the veteran WR out ran both CB's and a safety to the end zone for the tying score. We were back in the game!

Atlanta got the ball back with just over 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd, they produced a methodical drive, again utilizing White in the short-intermediate passing game. The Steelers were unable to stop them before the 4th quarter began, with the Falcons having journeyed to our 2 yard line. Michael Turner promptly ran over Big Snack to score the go ahead TD.

With just over 6 minutes to go in the 4th, I was down by 7, with the ball at our 22 yard line. Again the team leaned on Hines Ward, with the vet grabbing 3 consecutive 1st down balls including a spectacular 4th down catch to start the trifecta off, on a play action to Redman. Some screens to Mendy and a crucial 2nd and 17 catch for 16 yards by Mike Wallace led me to the Falcons 7 yard line with 3:20 remaining, I tried to milk the clock from my 1st and goal postion deep in enemy territory, but Pouncey and Kemo opened up a huge hole for Mendy through which I gratefully walked for a 7 yard game tying score.

This meant that I had to give the ball to the dangerous Falcons offence with 3 minutes remaining. To Bonhoffer's credit he called some very good plays to exploit my zones and ran the clock to 1:48 with a 1st and 10 at my 15, Michael Turner carried 3 times for 6 yards and 3 large clouds of dust. This left only 35 seconds left on the clock with me having no timeouts remaining. Steven Hauschka easily dispatched the 26 yard game winner as time expired.  

Stats Time!

Roethlisberger: 29/44 443 yards 1 TD 1 INT                                                                                             Ryan: 17/25 276 yards 0 TD's O INT

Mendenhall: 13 Attempts 55 yards 2 TD's                                                                                          Turner: 14 Attempts 53 yards 2 TD's

Ward: 11 recs 205 yards 1 TD                                                                                                              Wallace: 3 recs 67 yards                                                                                                                    Randle-El: 5 recs 76 yards                                                                                                                            White: 5 recs 136 yards 





I lost this game due to 3 things in my opinion, my lack of experience playing Madden online which resulted in some bad play calls when it mattered, Bonhoffer's prowess at this game proved greater than mine when he knew what calls to make in the Redzone and finally the lag that caused those 3 missed field goals in the first half that would likely have changed the game entirely.


Video With Commentary by Me

If you want to see these games on youtube then subscribe to my account there, I have recorded them and will be posting them, possibly with commentary over the top sometime. I will do this every week of the season.

I know it has nothing on yet, but that's because I deleted all my old non HD videos due to my getting a HD recording device. 

P.S. No video for this week as some idiot forgot to press record on my HD PVR. (It was me)

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