This season saw the meteoric rise of a Pro-Bowl caliber cornerback in Ken Lucas and the continuing failure of the “soft zone” defense. We witnessed Shaun Alexander become the NFL’s best running back and Koren Robinson become the living embodiment of a “million dollar body and a ten-cent head”. We thrilled to handing the hapless 49ers their first shutout in over 20 years and shook our head in disbelief as Vinny Testaverde and the officials robbed us of yet another game. Yeah, it was one hell of a ride my friends, and something tells me, it’s all just been a warmup for the Playoffs.
Now, onto the Game Sim: The Silicon Swami was once again on the mark last week, bringing the season record to 10-5.
The final Regular Season Sim of the year was particularly tricky. First, what roster to use? By the time the Seahawks take the field on Sunday, they will already know if the game has any significance at all. I would imagine that should the Jets knock the Rams out of the Playoffs, the Seahawks will rest some of their key players for a large portion of the game. Then again, the NFC West crown could be riding on the outcome. So, rather than try and guess, I just ran the sim with both teams starting their first teams for the first half, and backups for the second half.
As usual, the GameSim was run on Madden 2005 for the Playstation 2 with six minute quarters at All-Pro level. The final results are compiled from the average stats and scores from five games.
During the first halves, the starting defense for the Seahawks had little trouble containing Michael Vick, but ran into huge problems defending against the one-two punch of Dunn and Duckett. The two Atlanta running backs had a field day against the injury depleted Seattle front seven, racking up an average of 88 yards combined in the first half. Add in Vick’s 21 yard rushing average and the Falcons starting offense topped 100 yards rushing in the first half. Vick completed a few long passes to Peerless Price and also tossed a few INT’s to Lucas and Trufant.
The Atlanta QB also hit Alge Crumpler several times across the middle of the field. Perhaps most disturbing for the Virtual Falcons was that Vick twice in five games was knocked out of the game, once by Chad Brown on a bootleg run and once by Booger Moore on a sack. Atlanta led at halftime in two of the five games, and only trailed by three in two of the others.
The Seattle defense was hit or miss. The run defense was porous, as previously mentioned, but whenever Vick went back to pass, he was under pressure from the front seven. It would appear that the AI had Chad Brown on QB Spy duty for much of the game because he was constantly harassing Vick whenever the Atlanta quarterback strayed outside of the tackles. The Seattle secondary was dominant with each of the starting four (Trufant, Lucas, Boulware and Hamlin) collecting INTs and knocking the Atlanta wideouts around like rag dolls.
On offense, Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander had little trouble with the vaunted Falcon defense, with Matt averaging 179 yards and 2 touchdowns and Shaun averaging 61 yards and one touchdown in each of the first halves. Once again, Jerry Rice was Madden 2005’s favorite target averaging 56 yards and a score.
Ah, the second half. If you think it’s painful to watch REAL football with the second stringers in, it’s twice as boring on a videogame. Suffice it to say that there were massive amounts of penalties and turnovers, complete with reaction shots of Mike Holmgren and Jim Mora Jr. throwing fits on the sidelines, including a memorable headphone toss by Holmgren. Ultimately, the Seahawks would prevail in four of the five contests, although the margin of victory never exceeded eight points.
The Silicon Swami’s Prediction: Seattle 25, Atlanta 20.
See you in the Playoffs!
Dylan Johnson writes for Seahawks.NET. He’s also well-known as “NJSeahawksFan” on our Fan Forums. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com.