I’ll admit last week’s Madden simulation was a complete disaster. In the eyes of the internet, Archi Zuber and I were no longer considered a couple of handsome Nostradamuses who also happened to be time traveling wizards. Instead they called us frauds. Many pundits started to question our time traveling abilities, with some even claiming that we weren’t even wizards. One of them even had the audacity to say that I wasn’t really all that handsome. This was the most egregious attack of them all.

It wasn’t our fault, because we wrote a decent script. But Jay Cutler decided he’d go off book, and he ad-libbed his way through one of the worst fantasy games a starting quarterback has had in recent memory. In essence, Cutler was just being true to himself. He had a very good Week 1 against the Colts, so he needed to have a piss-poor game against the Packers so he could restore balance to the universe. It’s hard for me to be mad at Cutler; I should already understand that we don’t live in a world where the Bears QB is allowed to be consistent.

Jay Cutler was just being Jay Cutler.

This week’s simulation will feature the New York Giants visiting the Carolina Panthers.

As always, it will attempt to answer a series of questions. With the loss of Hakeem Nicks, how heavily will Eli Manning rely on Victor Cruz? How deep into the fourth quarter will Manning go before he decides he has to win the game himself? Will Steve Smith continue to bathe in the fountain of youth that is Cam Newton?

Pregame Notes: WR Hakeem Nicks, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and WR Domenik Hixon are sitting out for the Giants. RB Jonathan Stewart is sitting out for the Panthers.

First Half Notes

  • The Giants running game was desperately wishing they had Ahmad Bradshaw. Andre Brown was continually getting stuffed at the line for the entire first quarter.
  • “Let’s run into this hole that doesn’t exist”- Virtual Andre Brown
  • In a marketing moment that would make Jerry Jones proud, Jim Nantz pimps Papa John’s pizza.
  • The Panthers were three-and-out on their first two possessions. Every play was a relatively unsuccessful run up the middle.
  • Late in the first quarter, the Giants finally tired of their unsuccessful strategy of “two runs and a pass”, and Manning completed three straight passes for first downs including a 12-yarder to Rueben Randle. He immediately negated this success by throwing a pick in the end zone. This was starting to become depressing.
  • Early in the second quarter, the Panthers actually started to cobble together something that resembled a decent rushing game. DeAngelo Williams busted out with two straight rushes for more than ten yards. Since the Madden Gods don’t take too kindly to competent running backs, Williams was immediately injured on the next play. The Madden Gods are vengeful and terrifying.
  • On the same drive that Williams was injured, Newton didn’t attempt a single pass, probably because throwing a football is against his religion. It didn’t matter though; Williams had made the ultimate sacrifice. He had brought them within field goal range.
  • “I hope they miss this field goal out of spite”- Me
  • They didn’t miss. The Panthers were up 3-0 with time running out in the first half.
  • With under a minute to go, Manning engineered a five-play drive that was capped off with a 36-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal.
  • 3-3 at halftime in what Zubes called “pretty much the worst thing I have ever seen”.
  • The Giants can’t run.
  • Newton can’t throw.
  • This game can’t end fast enough.

Second Half Notes

  • The Panthers’ third-string running back Josh Vaughn had more carries/yards in the second half than he’s had in his entire career.
  • Why did virtual Vaughn receive more carries than virtual Tolbert after virtual Williams went down, even though reality Vaughn was crappy enough to be cut in late August? Because Tolbert is hated by all in Carolina, and Madden has foretold a locker room feud.
  • “Both teams are playing for a tie I think”- Zubes
  • I’m going to be honest. For the most part, nothing happened in the second half. The teams traded field goals in the third quarter, and somehow Phil Simms was able to mangle the English language even though this is a video game and all of his lines were scripted.
  • All of a sudden, everything happened with two minutes left in the fourth quarter! In true Eli Manning fashion (meaning he only makes plays late in the game), he willed his team down the field and hitCruz for a four-yard touchdown with only a minute and a half left on the clock. Martellus Bennett made two key catches on this drive.
  • Newton responded by throwing deep for the first time all game, completing a 41-yard pass to Greg Olsen to put the Panthers inside the Giants’ 20!
  • Instead of taking advantage of their only big play of the game, the Panthers decided the best plan of action was to run five straight rushing plays, essentially killing the clock and burning all of their time outs. They ran out of time on the three-yard line.
  • Virtual Ron Rivera was immediately fired…out of a cannon.
  • Final Score: New York Giants- 13, Carolina Panthers- 6

Final Stats

Giants Panthers
Score 13 6
Rushing Yards 37 139
Passing Yards 164 51
First Downs 12 11
Red Zone 2-2 (TD, FG) 1-2 (FG)
Time of Possession 14:10 13:50
3rd down conversions 4-8 6-11
4th down conversions 0-0 0-0

Comparables

Passing:

Eli Manning: 16-20 for 196 yards with one touchdown and one interception

Cam Newton: 2-9 (!!!) for 51 yards

Rushing:

Andre Brown: 13 carries for 37 yards

Josh Vaughn: 15 carries for 39 yards

DeAngelo Williams: 8 carries for 37 yards

Cam Newton: 5 carries for 24 yards

Receiving:

Martellus Bennett: 4 receptions for 68 yards

Victor Cruz: 4 receptions for 36 yards and one touchdown

Rueben Randle: 3 receptions for 39 yards

Brandon LaFell: 1 reception for 10 yards

Greg Olsen: 1 reception for 41 yards

Ogletree of the game: Fourth quarter Eli Manning

Final Thoughts

I know I joke around a lot about these simulations being staggeringly accurate (I’ll continue to hang my hat on the lowest branch of the Ogletree), but I really hope that none of this simulation comes true. If it does, NFL fans will be exposed to the worst football game of all time. Millions of disgruntled people will simultaneously change the channel, and a larger sect of society will become more aware of those dolts that buy storage lockers and have an aversion to sleeves (I have no idea what shows have made their fall return).

For the sake of New York Giants fans, I hope the entire game plays out like the last two minutes of the simulations’ fourth quarter. That was legitimately exciting.

Three things I learned from this simulation:

  1. Eli Manning always takes the first three quarters off.
  2. Cam Newton is the worst passing quarterback in the history of the NFL (seriously, how did he only complete two passes).
  3. In the absence of Hakeem Nicks, Martellus Bennett may be the breakout fantasy player of the week.