Thursday, January 31, 2008

PHSports Simulation Series: Super Bowl XLII (pictures to come soon ...)

by Chris Clement

In a tradition that has gone as far back as…today…we here at PHSports are ready to do away with computer and metric-based simulations and instead focus on something random, yet incredible entertaining.

Super Bowl XLII…three days early.

How does it happen? The power of technology!

Enter an XBOX, the New England Patriots versus the New York Giants, a 26-inch flat-screen television and XBOX’s willingness to update rosters on a seemingly monthly basis.

The difficulty was boosted to All-Madden, attributes were reset to system levels, ditto for rules/preferences/options. We tried to silence Madden as much as we could, but we had no hope.

Even an MVP was named.

Let’s check the highlights…

1st Quarter
The coin toss led to New England receiving the ball. Unfortunately for Giants fans, the score wasn’t tied for long. After a rather ho-hum 27-yard return from Laurence Maroney, the Patriots marched down the field 73 yards in 5 plays. Along the way were two runs from Maroney (tabbing 20 total yards) and 3 straight Tom Brady completions to Randy Moss. The end result was the game’s first score, a 24-yard grab from a wide-open Moss. Where were you Gibril Wilson? The Giants struggled out of the gate on offense, with Hixon’s return only reaching the 15 before a 3-and-out with three incompletions from Eli “Don’t Cal me Peyton’s Little Brother” Manning. Kevin Faulk’s 8-yard punt return gave the Pats the ball inside Giant territory. After 2 short rushes, Brady continued his perfect start with 4 completions (2 to Stallworth and 2 to Welker) before hitting Donte Stallworth on a short slant for a 6-yard touchdown on the last play of the 1st quarter. 14-0 Patriots as Brady was 8-for-8 with 2 TDs. A third Super Bowl MVP Trophy seemed apparent.

2nd Quarter
Lightning nearly struck again for Hixon as he took back the Pats kick…to the 15 yard line. Two rushes from Brandon Jacobs and then a TE waggle to Kevin Boss afforded the Giants 1st and goal at the 2-yard line. Eli snuck it in himself on 1st down to give the Giants their first TD of the game, now trailing 14-7. Somehow, New England ran 3 straight times for only 8 yards and punted. After a fair catch from RW McQuarters, the Giants marched downfield on a 8-play, 54 yard drive resulting in a 24-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes. The key plays on the drive included a 3 and 2 conversion by Ahmad Bradshaw on a screen pass and a crushing hit from Asante Samuel in the endzone, jarring the ball loose from Amani Toomer on 3rd and Goal. With the score 14-10 and less than 45 seconds remaining in the half, it appeared the Giants had officially made a game of it. Not so fast. Randy Moss took a reverse 33 yards and then caught a 41-yard touchdown with 7 seconds left to give the Patriots a 21-10 halftime lead. Eli could only hand the ball off to Jacobs to run out the clock following a mediocre kickoff return. 21-10 at the half, Randy Moss had officially woken out of his playoff slumber.

3rd Quarter
The game saw its first turnover on the first pass of the second-half, resulting in a pick by Adalius Thomas of Eli Manning (who had targeted Steve Smith in the flat). Thomas rumbled 15 yards down to the 6-yard line before being tackled by Plaxico Burress (who, to this point, had 0 catches). Laurence Maroney needed 2 rushes to piledrive into the endzone. Pats fans celebrated while Tom Coughlin stared blankly from the sidelines at a 28-10 deficit. The Giants struggled to move the ball, but benefited from two pass interference penalties on Randall Gay to allow Tynes to sail through an impressive 45-yard field goal. Eli’s completion percentage had dipped below 45% while Brady had only 3 incompletions in over fifteen attempts to that point. The Patriots weren’t able to score on their second drive of the second half; however, they ran out the clock before pinning the Giants inside their own 10 yard-line. 28-13 after three quarters of play.

4th Quarter
In a play eerily familiar to Donald Driver’s 90-yard NFC Championship Game TD, a Super Bowl record was set on 3rd and 3 from their own 13 when Eli Manning hit Steve Smith for an 87-yard touchdown. Simply burning All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel and free safety Rodney Harrison, Smith went untouched into the endzone in what was by far the game’s most exciting moment. Tipping the score to 28-20, the Giants were somehow only one-possession away from tying the game. Thoughts of a tie game seemed realistic after a poor kickoff return and two stuffed rushes by the Giant defense. Then, in one of the oddest playcalls I can remember, the Patriots called a rush up the middle on 3rd and 13 against a rather stacked line. With only three minutes remaining, Laurence Maroney shook off a brutal hit 4 yards in the backfield by Fred Robbins and sliced and diced his way to a 58-yard rush. Pushing him over 100 yards and crippling the chances of the Giant offense, Maroney would remain in the game and broke off another big run, this time of 18 yards, placing the ball on the 4 yard line. A play-action bootleg by Brady, never a norm for New England, resulted in Touchdown Tom’s third TD of the day, this one to Benjamin Watson to give the Patriots a 35-20 advantage. The game’s closing minutes saw Plaxico’s first catch (21 yards) and a forced fumble on Eli Manning by Vince Wilfork (also recovered by Wilfork). The Patriots took two kneels after securing one last first-down on a personal foul late hit downfield by Sam Madison on Wes Welker (after a 8-yard reception on 3rd and 15) and Super Bowl XVII was over. Bill Belichick was lifted up by his players and New England enjoyed their fourth Super Bowl trophy in four years, while Giants players, notably Manning/Jacobs/Strahan (he and the entire Giant team was held sackless), held their heads down in remorse. The camera was even shook by the eventual MVP, enjoying his first Super Bowl victory.

Final Score: New England wins 35-20
MVP: Randy Moss [4 receptions, 106 yards, 2 TDs, 1 rush, 33 yards]

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
Patriots: Tom Brady 24-yard pass to Randy Moss for TOUCHDOWN
[5 plays, 73 yards, XP Good.]
New England leas 7-0

Patriots: Tom Brady 6-yard pass to Donte Stallworth for TOUCHDOWN
[6 plays, 49 yards, XP Good.]
New England leads 14-0.

2nd Quarter
Giants: Eli Manning 2-yard rush for TOUCHDOWN
[4 plays, 15 yards, XP Good.]
New England leads 14-7.

Giants: 24 yard-field goal attempt by Lawrence Tynes is GOOD
[8 plays, 54 yards, FG Good.]
New England leads 14-10.

Patriots: Tom Brady 41-yard pass to Randy Moss for TOUCHDOWN
[4 plays, 76 yards, XP Good.]
New England leads 21-10.

3rd Quarter
New England: Laurence Maroney 2 yard rush for TOUCHDOWN
[2 plays, 6 yards, XP Good.]
New England leads 28-10.

New York: 45-yard field-goal attempt by Lawrence Tynes is GOOD
[5 plays, 45 yards, 1 penalty]
New England leads 28-13.

4th Quarter
New York: Eli Manning 87-yard pass to Steve Smith for TOUCHDOWN
[3 plays, 93 yards, XP Good.]
New England leads 28-20.

New England: Tom Brady 4-yard pass to Benjamin Watson for TOUCHDOWN
[5 plays, 85 yards, XP Good.]
New England leads 35-20.

Key Player Statistics
Tom Brady: 14-17, 169 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
Laurence Maroney: 16 rushes, 128 yards, TD
Randy Moss: 4 receptions, 106 yards, 2 TDs, 1 rush, 33 yards
Donte Stallworth: 2 receptions, 26 yards, TD
Wes Welker: 3 receptions, 27 yards, 2-first downs
Benjamin Watson: 3 receptions, 1 yard, 1 TD
Adalius Thomas: 5 tackles, INT, sack
Vince Wilfork: 2 tackles, 1 sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery
Rodney Harrison: 8.5 tackles, 0 penalties

Eli Manning: 11-19, 222 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 Rush TD, 1 lost fumble
Brandon Jacobs: 8 rushes, 38 yards, 1 reception, 10 yards
Plaxico Buress: 1 receptions, 21 yards, 2 drops, 1 tackle
Amani Toomer: 4 receptions, 60 yards
Steve Smith: 4 receptions, 126 yds, TD
Kevin Boss: 1 reception 5 yards, 1 drop
Michael Strahan: 1 tackle, 0 sacks, 0 QB hurries
Antonio Pierce: 11.5 tackles, 2 pass deflections
Lawrence Tynes: 2/2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points

PHSports Play of the Game: Steve Smith’s untouched 87-yard touchdown reception.
Art Monk Award: Laurence Maroney
-For carrying the ball with intensity and quiet composure. Rushed for 7 first downs on 16 carries, including drive during which Maroney carried the ball 4 times for 81 yards.
Defining Moment: Maroney’s 54-yard scamper on 3rd and 13 to break open a 28-20 game.

I hope you enjoyed it. I wish the game had been closer, but it was surprisingly fun to watch.

Until next time…

1 comment:

Sum said...

Did you have the volume up? Were there any noteworthy Maddenisms? Perhaps those that explain illegal formation as when an offensive player starts off in a legal formation and then moves to an illegal one? :-)