It’s tough to lose, and especially tough to lose when your team comes into the fourth quarter with a 17 point lead. And it’s even tougher when you were talking smack about the opposing team DURING the game on a fansite devoted to said opponent. I have to give props to the folks over at www.clanram.com for putting up with my … ahem, premature celebration.
I also would like to take the opportunity to extend kudos to the Rams for not giving up when other teams would have packed it in. Coming back to win when you’re down 17 points on the road is extremely difficult to do, and St. Louis pulled it off in what was a real “must win” game for them.
On the other side of the ball, Seattle absolutely must shake off last week’s debacle at Qwest Field and focus on rebounding against a Patriots team that is riding the longest winning streak in NFL history.
To me, the key to this game will be sticking to the offensive game plan and not letting the myriad of defensive looks that Bill Belichick is going to give the Seahawks rattle the offense. New England has shown a vulnerability to the run in past games, and even last week, the lowly Buffalo Bills were still in the game until very late in the 4th Quarter. If Seattle has success running the ball early, setting up the play action pass, I firmly believe they will have a chance to win this game in the fourth quarter.
Now, on to the Game Sim. Last week, Madden 2005 also suffered its first loss of the season, dropping the computer game’s record to 3-1.
As usual, I ran Madden 2005 for Playstation 2 with rosters taken from NFL.com on Wednesday, CPU vs CPU in 6-minute quarters and taking the average of the five games to determine the winner.
The Silicon Swami foresees a hard-fought game that’s decided late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots came out on top in three of the five contests, and neither team managed to beat the other by more than 4 points.
Neither Shaun Alexander nor Corey Dillion managed to break 90 yards in any of the five games, and both defenses were stifling … until the fourth quarter. Both teams averaged 2 takeaways and 3 sacks per game, although New England was less consistent, getting a shutout in the sack department once and then racking up six in the next contest. Turnovers led directly to scores in a majority of cases, and in all but one game both defenses scored touchdowns off of turnovers.
In every single one of the games, both offenses woke up in the fourth quarter trading scores after being unable to manage more than two scores in the first three quarters. Brady definitely got the better of Hasselbeck in the yardage department (231 to 189), although each of them averaged 1.5 TD’s and 1.5 INT’s per game. Both quarterbacks spread the ball around averaging, 7 players with at least one catch.
But I have to tell you specifically about the first game that was simulated. I ran the game in the background while watching the first game of the ALCS on Tuesday Night, and for the first three quarters, I basically ignored the sim as it was about as exciting as watching paint dry. In fact, heading into the fourth quarter, the game was tied 3-3 in the pouring rain at Gillette Stadium.
With just under 6 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Marcus Trufant intercepts Tom Brady and runs it back 36 yards for the score to put the Seahawks up 10 - 3.
The Patriots go three and out and are forced to punt.
Seattle’s first play from scrimmage after the punt results in a Ty Law interception returned 29 yards for a touchdown and, just like that, the game is knotted up at 10 a piece.
The Seahawks get the ball back and manage a drive that culminates in a Josh Brown 47 yard Field Goal … wide right.
With game still tied and under 2 minutes on the clock, Tom Brady hits Troy Brown in stride after Trufant misjudges an INT attempt and 58 yards later, the Patriots have a 17 – 10 lead with 1:26 left in the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Maurice Morris rips off a 72-yard beauty down to the New England 28. There’s now 1:03 remaining. After a Koren Robinson dropped touchdown (and now it’s just getting eerie how accurate this thing is getting) on 3rd and 7, Hasselbeck finds Mo-Mo in the end zone and the score is now New England 17 Seattle 16.
Here’s where things get … interesting. Virtual Holmgren sends Matt and company back out on the field to go for two and the win. A beautiful play fake to Alexander leaves Mack Strong with completely alone in the end zone and Seahawks take the lead by one point with 55 seconds left in the game.
Josh Brown squibs a kick that’s picked up by the Pats on the 38 and is returned to their own 48. There are 49 seconds left in the game, and both teams have all 3 timeouts. On the first play from scrimmage Brady throws an errant pass under serious pressure from both Booger Moore and a blitzing Isaiah Kacyvenski that ends up in the hands of Bobby Taylor.
The Seahawks have the ball and a one point lead with :41 seconds remaining in the game. The Patriots have 3 timeouts. Three plays, three New England timeouts and ten seconds later, Seattle is punting.
The Patriots now have the ball on their own 27 yard line with 25 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. On 3rd and 3, with 13 ticks left on the clock, Brady connects with Brown again on a long pass, but Hamlin and Lucas keep him in bounds, and before the teams can reset to spike the ball, the clock expires …
I only hope the real game is half as exciting … with the same result.
The Silicon Swami’s prediction, however; is for a down-to-the-wire finish with New England ultimately prevailing, 20-17.
Dylan Johnson writes
for Seahawks.NET. He’s also well-known as “NJSeahawksFan”
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