Last week’s Madden simulation was proof that robots are coming for all our jobs. Not only did the simulation come within a point of guessing the exact score of the game, it was also decided by a forced fumble by Darius Slay. Now, I’m not suggesting that it was this particular Madden simulation predicted almost the exact score and way the Lions would win their actual football game last week, I’m telling you. This thing is growing sentient. Not only are they doing everything in their power to keep Madden 17 as fresh as possible with updated commentary and rosters—Jace Billingsley is still nowhere to be found—but it’s now predicting the scores and critical plays. Let’s check out what’s in store for the Lions-Rams come this Sunday.
The Lions wasted no time, per usual in these Madden simulations—and in actual games (!)—to get the offense rolling. The first play was a pass to Clay Harbor and good for a first down. From there, newcomer Justin Forsett made his presence felt. Runs of 8 yards and 2 yards on consecutive plays moved the sticks and kept the Rams defense on the field. Eventually, Forsett broke off a big gain of 23 yards to move the Lions into the red zone on their first drive. Then, Zach Zenner made the most of his first opportunity, scoring on an impressive 12-yard run where he put a defender on skates.
The Rams first possession with the football didn’t result in much of anything. After a couple of short gains from Todd Gurley, Case Keenum threw away a pass on third down as the Lions defense started the game strong. From there, everything went downhill for Detroit.
Keenum and the Rams took over from their own 24-yard line and began to methodically march down the field. A 15-yard facemask penalty charged to Ezekiel Ansah kept Los Angeles moving and Keenum found Kenny Britt for 10 yards and then Brian Quick for 17 yards on back-to-back plays. Seven and a half minutes later, the Rams were in the end zone, courtesy of Case Keenum and Kenny Britt who hooked up for an 8-yard touchdown pass and catch.
With the score tied, and the Lions with a fresh set of downs to start the second quarter, they promptly gave the ball back to the defense after three play resulted in a net gain of -12 yards. The Rams would respond by taking the ball and doing exactly what they did with it the last time they had it: move the ball ever so surely down the field, eating time and putting them in a position to score. Detroit’s defense would stand strong on the goal line, forcing Greg Zuerlein to kick it from 20 yards out to give Los Angeles a 10-7 lead.
Detroit started their next drive from their own 25-yard line, but after two straight incompletions to Tate and Boldin, the Lions couldn’t get a first down after a pass to Clay Harbor only gained 9 yards. Sam Martin, #WorthEveryPenny the Lions’ most valuable player in this simulation, booted a ball from the Lions’ own 34-yard line that ended up settling on the Rams 1-yard line. It was the most impressive thing the team did all game.
The Lions would force the Rams to go three-and-out, getting the ball back at midfield after Andre Roberts returned a punt to midfield. Detroit’s offense would move the ball six yards thanks to Justin Forsett, and try a 59-yard field goal on fourth-and-4 instead of trying to go for it. Matt Prater missed and the Rams capitalized, scoring another field goal before the half after Detroit’s defense completed yet another goal line stand. The score at the half was 13-7, Los Angeles.
Even though the Lions defense held strong at the end of the first half, limiting a couple of drives to field goals when the Rams were inside the Lions’ 5-yard line, Keenum and the Rams offense continued to move the ball at will against the Lions defense in the second half. After another facemask penalty on the opening kickoff of the second half, the Rams started with the ball on their own 30-yard line. On first down, Keenum’s pass fell incomplete to Gurley. Two plays later, they were in the end zone and up 21-7; Keenum connected with Lance Kendricks for 23 yards and then Kenny Britt for 47 yards and their second touchdown of the day. Tavon Austin converted the two-point conversion.
As for the Lions offense, their struggles continued into the second half. Stafford was sacked for a 10-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage to start their drive and faced with a third-and-21 after an incomplete pass on second down. The team just couldn’t convert on third down in any sort of situation all game long; whether it was third-and-long or third-and-short, dropped passes, stuffed runs and overthrown balls plagued the Lions.
However, the Lions defense would come up big on the Rams’ next possession, with Nevin Lawson intercepting a deep pass from Keenum in the back of the end zone. The Lions had new life, but quickly saw it turn to nothing as two run plays set up a third-and-2, but the third run play went nowhere. Once again, Sam Martin was on to punt away any chance at the Lions getting back into the game.
Something about the Rams offense was less than spectacular in the red zone as they continued to leave points on the field, failing for a third straight time to punch it in from three yards out and settling for another Zuerlein field goal from 20 yards out.
Detroit would once again go three-and-out, pooping their virtual big boy pants and giving the ball back over to Los Angeles to kick another field goal, this time from 48 yards out to give them a 27-7 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
Let me save you the trouble: in the fourth quarter, the Lions couldn’t move the ball until there were two minutes left and the Rams were up 30-7. Instead of going for it on fourth down on the Rams’ 7-yard line, Caldwell sent out the field goal unit to make it 30-10. Then he proceeded to kick it deep and not use his timeouts. I hate Madden so much.
Lions Madden sim record: 4-2
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