There was a time when I believed that the things I say, think, or do have no bearing whatsoever on the universe at large. I thought that if I were to have access to a time traveling device, I could set the dial back 100 years and kill several butterflies. And yet, the world would still turn, and there would not be an apocalyptic moment.
Now, I’m not so sure.
Less than 24 hours ago I had an idea. A simple one, and one that ranked somewhere below zero on the originality scale. Let’s pick a primetime game every week and simulate it on Madden 13, I said to myself loudly with no one around. We could document the results and the notable performances, and write some hilarious commentary. Oh, what fun we would have.
Since I was busy with other matters and unable to do the exhaustive work of watching a computer play a football game for several hours, I dispatched dedicated (see: bored) interns Kyle Smith and Andrew Zuber to tackle this intensive assignment prior to Wednesday’s Giants-Cowboys 2012 kickoff game.
The result? A boring 19-0 Cowboys win, so overall the virtual season opener only pegged the correct winner, and little else. But dig beyond that surface, friend, and you’ll find that we’ve discovered a power which cannot be harnessed, and can’t be placed in the wrong hands.
Through the aid of computer simulation wizardry, we called Kevin Ogletree’s explosion.
Ogletree finished with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns during the Cowboys’ 24-17 win, with one of those scores the product of a 40-yard reception following a perfect double move. That’s coming from the third wideout on Dallas’ WR depth chart behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, and Ogletree even had to fight for that spot during training camp.
Our Madden prediction for Ogletree? 115 yards on five catches with one touchdown. I’m still not sure if I should burn the copy of Madden we used, or if it and the console should be placed in a deep, dark bank safe immediately. With great power comes great responsibility.
Not impressed? Well, let us list the ways in which Ogletree’s performance and our
completely random and arbitrary scientific experiment was highly improbable.
Prior to Wednesday Ogletree hadn’t scored a touchdown, and his career single-game receiving yardage high was the 50 yards he had in Week 2 last year, while his career single-game reception high was a mere three. That means he erased three years and 31 games worth of mediocrity and depth chart toiling in just three quarters when he had 87 yards. Also, on one play — his 40-yard touchdown catch — he came within 10 yards of that career single-game yardage high.
More, you say? Oh why sure, we can accommodate that.
Prior to tonight, Ogletree — who went undrafted in 2009 — had 294 career receiving yards. He now has 408, and that means 28 percent of his career receiving yards have come on one night. Which brings us to the other, possibly far less rosy side of this game in terms of fantasy implications.
Bryant still produced, and had his looks, catches, and yardage (four catches for 85 yards). But before saving himself with a game-clinching 34-yard TD grab, Austin slept through three quarters. Was that due to his lingering hamstring injury, and the time needed to adjust after seeing minimal game action during the preseason? Or was Romo looking to Ogletree more often because of his hot hand, and the growing chemistry there between receiver and quarterback? The answer is likely a bit of both, but oddly, Austin owners are hoping for the former, and dreading the latter.
Go ahead, be giddy, and call Ogletree the next Laurent Robinson, especially since he now has the same number of career 100-yard games as Bryant. And pick him up as a waiver flier just because you’re cool and impulsive like that, and because he’s available as a free agent in 99.4 percent of NFL.com leagues. Just remember that reality can be a cruel jerk next week, and one game does not make a Laurent Robinson.
The former Cowboy and current Jaguar had three 100-yard games last year, including 137 yards against these same Giants. His production was, of course, wildly inconsistent, as he was relying on Austin and Bryant to remain brittle. That 137-yard game was his season high, but his weekly output sunk as long as five yards.
Sorry to be the enemy of fun, but you can expect the same kind of really deep valleys and scattered peaks from Ogletree. He was able to emerge and get more looks against the Giants due to the combination of Austin’s lingering hamstring issue, and Jason Witten not really being Jason Witten at all after he was a game-time decision with his lacerated spleen.
All we really know for sure at this point is that we’re never playing the The Sims again, because we now hold the power to turn virtual reality into reality. Volcanic public peeing is usually frowned upon.