Tonight we’ll watch a game in which the winner gets sole possession of top spot in the NFC West just one week before the season’s halfway point, with the Seahawks traveling to San Francisco.

But when I sat down to simulate this game today using Madden 13 there were more pressing questions at hand. Why does Alex Smith hate Vernon Davis so passionately? Is it possible for one team to control the ball for nearly an entire half (almost, yes)? Does Phil Simms speak English?

So come with me, and let’s go on another meandering, nonsensical journey through virtual football that will have no bearing whatsoever on tonight’s proceedings. Or will it?

As usual, we went with nine-minute quarters, and let the Madden weather randomizer do whatever it pleased. It turned out to be a pleasant evening in virtual San Francisco.

First half notes

  • We begin with the usual stadium pan and Simms cliché spewing, but this time there’s something a little different about Simms. Virtual Simms seems to have deep, heavy bags under his eyes. Stay hydrated, Phil.
  • Virtual Simms wants us to give both coaches credit for being really awesome before the game has even started. Virtual Pete Carroll and virtual Jim Harbaugh nod in approval.
  • With the first possession, the Seahawks began a first-half trend that would be reversed abruptly in the second half: running, gashing, running, and gashing some more.
  • Marshawn Lynch had 22 yards on just his first three carries. The entire Niners run defense is suspect.
  • Russell Wilson despises balls thrown longer than eight yards. Dinks balanced by plenty of dunks is his game, as Wilson’s longest completion on the drive was a seven-yard out.
  • But as Simms said at least seven times using different words, taketh what the defense giveth. That’s how the Seahawks found themselves near the edge of San Fran’s red zone. You know what I think about this defense? OVERRATED (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).
  • It was at this point when Simms inexplicably decided to go on a gin-fueled rant about the new Nike uniforms, specifically the neon pajamas worn by the Seahawks. Nike gets its plug, and Papa John’s is displeased.
  • A 10-play drive that felt like at least 26 plays stalls at the 49ers’ 25 yard line. Field goal. 3-0 Hawks.
  • Frank Gore then proceeds to run into large male ass multiple times, hitting his own linemen. His running pattern is consistent: run two yards, and then sustain a massive head blow. Punt.
  • Wilson resumes is dunking with some dinking too, but he still hasn’t thrown an incompletion. It’s all very Tebowian of him, except the part about completions.
  • The first quarter ends than an 11-yard screen pass to Leon Washington. The virtual 49ers are looking like soft sissy men, while the Seahawks have the strength of 10 Charlton Hestons, parting red seas at will. Also, down is up, and cats like dogs.
  • Thankfully, our world was restored. On the first play of the second quarter, Wilson dropped back 15 yards for no apparent reason and was sacked, fumbling on his way down. Defensive end Ray McDonald then returned the fumble 45 yards for the game’s first touchdown. 7-3 49ers, 1-0 reality.
  • Then it’s onwards with more of the same clock-eating methodical hypnotizing. Three minutes into the second quarter, the Niners had only run three offensive plays. No typo. Virtual Simms expressed displeasure and boredom.
  • Wilson is also participating in the early ground cashing, reeling off several +10 yard runs.
  • A 14-play Seahawks drive ate up nearly five minutes of Madden game clock, which was around 15 minutes in real life, giving me enough time to restock my Jiffy Pop.
  • The drive mercifully ended with a 16-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice (downfield bomb!) after Wilson had a seven-yard run (running!). 10-7 Seahawks blouses.
  • Suddenly, Alex Smith has been filled with the blood and possibly internal organs of Steve Young and Joe Montana.
  • Completions to Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree quickly get the 49ers to around midfield, and then Smith uncorks a 48-yard BOMB to Randy Moss. It’s 2003 again! Call Dante Culpepper!
  • That’s how we end a first half that managed to be both insomnia curing and entertaining. 14-10 49ers.

Second half notes

  • On a third and one at midfield, virtual Harbaugh called a naked bootleg, because designed runs by Alex Smith are always good ideas.
  • Wilson keeps running, and the Niners D keeps watching. He had a 12-yard scramble, and the whole tuck and run thing when his first option isn’t open seems to be working quite well. He hath written that there would be a second coming of the Tebow.
  • After another Seahawks’ drive stalled, Smith resumed his chucking. Bruce Miller caught a pass, meaning that in this game a fullback who has 13 career receptions in reality is equally as vital as Vernon Davis in the passing game. Davis has still caught zero footballs as the third quarter winds down. Surprisingly, Simms has no clichés about Miller time.
  • Gore seems rejuvenated in the second half, likely due to an injection of some kind.
  • He had a solid, pounding eight-yard run followed by a 16 yarder.
  • Then Kendall Hunter caught a pass. He’s also more important than Vernon Davis.
  • The third quarter ends, and Smith still doesn’t have an incompletion. But that streak was halted early in the fourth quarter on a misfire to Delanie Walker, who’s also more important than Vernon Davis. That stopped the drive, and led to a 40-yard field goal. 17-10 49ers.
  • Wilson was suddenly throwing deep and connecting often. On a third and six with just over six minutes left, Sidney Rice sought to out-Moss Moss, chasing down a 41-yard heave that was caught because of course.
  • That advanced the Seahawks to inside of the 49ers’ five-yard line. Then Lynch was stuffed twice and Wilson was sacked for the fourth time, also because of course. A field goal would have to suffice when a touchdown seemed assured. 17-13 49ers.
  • Then Smith chucked another bomb to Moss, because now they’re partying like it’s 2000. This one went for 42 yards, and then a few plays later Gore rumbled in for a nine-yard score. 24-13.
  • Justin Smith then sealed the game with an interception. Pete Carroll flailed, but alas he did not rise from the ground.
  • Wilson led one last impressive drive that would have at least made the score a little closer. But then with no timeouts left and the ball on the Niners’ nine-yard line, Lynch was asked to run up the gut.
  • That’s how the game ended, because why not.
  • Final score: 24-13 49ers

Final stats

Seahawks 49ers
Total offense 339 213
Rushing yards 94 59
Passing yards 245 154
First downs 13 8

Comparables

Passing:

Russell Wilson: 22 for 29, 273 yards, TD

Alex Smith: 11 for 13, 169 yards, TD

Rushing:

Marshawn Lynch: 17 carries for 24 yards

Wilson: five carries for 58 yards

Frank Gore: 15 carries for 59 yards, TD

Receiving:

Randy Moss: three receptions, 90 yards, TD

Mario Manningham: four receptions, 26 yards

Vernon Davis: one reception, 19 yards

Sidney Rice: seven receptions, 122 yards, TD

Zach Miller: three receptions, 26 yards

Leon Washington: two receptions, 36 yards

Ogletree of the game: Randy Moss

Final thoughts

When he wants to, virtual Russell Wilson can throw footballs a great distance. The problem, it seems, is that virtual Carroll didn’t have any inner stirrings to make him complete such a throw until far too late in the second half. Simms mentioned this several times, and by several times I mean every time, all the time, on every play.

Three things I learned from this simulation:

1. Vernon Davis is useless.

2. Virtual Randy Moss is infinitely more motivated than reality Randy Moss.

3. Passes can only be eight yards in length or 40, and never, ever anything in between.