I just spent several minutes yelling at a video game. This isn’t abnormal behavior, as playing Madden 13 can sometimes become a borderline violent experience for me. However, this wasn’t healthy because A) I wasn’t playing and B) I was in public, and other people were present. And watching. And slowly moving away.
For much of this simulation, Joe Flacco was typical Joe Flacco. He threw three interceptions, and balanced that out with two touchdowns. On one of those TDs he had about nine years in the pocket to stand and wait, then wait again, and then wait some more before unloading a 44-yard deep ball to Jacoby Jones with less than 20 seconds left in the first half. He then followed that up with a pick six to Navorro Bowman on a check down to the flats. So Flacco.
And then…ZOMG TORREY SMITH!!!!!!!!!!!@#&!!!!!!!
Just watch, and then we’ll all resume yelling together. Oh and also, check out our still very new and shiny Franchise Mode blog where this sim first appeared, and where Scott Johnson satiates all your moving picture virtual needs. Yes, I’ll forever be a shameless plugger.
To review: virtual Jim Harbaugh decided it was a good idea to have David Akers attempt a 57-yard field goal with two minutes left. Thinking about that already shatters your mind into several bite-sized pieces, but then you look a little closer, and notice that the 49ers needed about two yards for a first down.
That leaves only two acceptable decisions. A conservative head coach would have punted deep and forced Flacco to drive his offense the entire length of the field for a touchdown in less than two minutes (the score was 14-10, making a field goal useless). Or the aggressive head coach would have gone for the first down. The former decision is more favorable since a failure on fourth and short would have still resulted in great field position. Of course, the appeal of going for it is to burn more clock and possibly end the game while, well, winning a championship.
Baltimore had three timeouts remaining, so it was still possible for Flacco to get the ball back with about a minute left. That’s less than ideal, but it’s still infinitely better than handing the ball over with nearly a full two minutes left after a missed field goal that was already impossible, with the Ravens only a few yards away from 49ers territory.
Yes, I just wrote two paragraphs heavily criticizing the decision making of a collection of digital pixels. What of it?
So then with 35 seconds to go and one timeout left, the Flacco heave came. It was directed to Smith in the back of the end zone, or as the 49ers know him, one of the fastest dudes on the field. Despite Phil Simms’ programmed idiocy, Tarell Brown was in position, and he elevated to tip the ball. No worries then, right? Ha. The laws of physics work in mysterious ways.
It this was reality reality instead of virtual reality, somewhere Gus Johnson would have died due to jubilance overload. And it would have been perfectly peaceful too, as it’s exactly how he pictures leaving this Earth.
Now, some numbers. As always, keep in mind that we use nine-minute quarters.
Final Score: Ravens 17, 49ers 14
Total Offense: BAL 283, SF 157
Rushing Yards: BAL 52, SF 123
Passing Yards: BAL 231, SF 34
First Downs: BAL 10, SF 10
BAL – J. Flacco – 16/27, 254 yards, 2 TD’s, 3 INT’s
SF – C. Kaepernick – 15/20, 63 yards
SF – F. Gore – 19 carries for 82 yards
BAL – R. Rice – 16 carries for 52 yards
SF – L. James – 4 carries for 40 yards
SF – B. Miller – 1 carry for 1 yard
BAL – A. Boldin – 8 catches for 128 yards
BAL – T. Smith – 2 catches for 49 yards
SF – M. Crabtree – 6 catches for 47 yards
BAL – J. Jones – 1 catch for 45 yards
BAL – R. Rice – 3 catches for 23 yards
SF – R. Moss – 2 catches for 18 yards
BAL – E. Dickson – 1 catch for 6 yards
SF – A. Jenkins – 2 catches for 6 yards
BAL – V. Leach – 1 catch for 3 yards