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Madden sim: Defense comes up big, Lions win a thriller in OT against the Eagles

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Against all odds, and in a game where there were 11 field goals, the Lions manage to knock off the undefeated Eagles in our Madden simulation this week.

Most think the Lions aren’t a very good team, and part of that “most” include the people at EA Tiburon. The Lions once had an 81 overall rating—in hindsight, that may have been some subtle trolling on their part—but after injuries and poor play through four weeks, Detroit has dropped to a 73 overall. Now as one of the worst teams in the game, this week’s Madden simulation had the Lions going up against one of the best teams in Madden, the Philadelphia Eagles with an 88 overall. Here’s a rundown of how the virtual Lions fared against the virtual Eagles.

First Half

The Lions came out of the gate moving the ball well, both on the ground and through the air. It’s incredible how realistic the Madden franchise has become; they even tune the play calling to what coach speak is put out for the media in a given week! On the Lions first drive, Tate had two catches for 23 yards on four targets as the offense stalled out on the Eagles’ 23-yard line. Matt Prater would give the Lions the put the first points on the board and give the Lions a 3-0 lead.

After a solid 33-yard return by Wendell Smallwood to Philadelphia’s own 34-yard line, the Eagles picked up where the Bears left off last week. On second-and-11, Carson Wentz found Dorial Green-Beckham for 30 yards to put the Eagles into Lions’ territory. Two downs later, Philadelphia had taken the lead:

When Detroit was given the ball back, things didn’t go so smoothly on offense. Three downs into their second possession and the Lions were punting the ball back to a Philadelphia offense that just torched them for seven. The Eagles took over from their own 31-yard line with just under six minutes left in the first quarter. Their drive didn’t end until the start of the second quarter when Caleb Sturgis hit from 29 yards out to give the Eagles a seven-point cushion to their lead.

After a 38-yard return by Dwayne Washington, the Lions continued with the agenda of the actual Jim Bob Cooter. Golden Tate caught a pass for 25 yards that put the Lions on the other side of the field. After a rush by Theo Riddick for no yards on first down and Stafford throwing the ball away on second down, Taylor Decker was credited with a rush for -18 yards when he gave up a sack fumble that he recovered from Matthew Stafford. Once again, the Lions would punt to Philadelphia.

Detroit’s defense showed up on Philadelphia’s next drive, forcing them to punt after three downs. Matthew Stafford seemed intent on staying on the field for longer than their previous drive had lasted; he and the Lions offense orchestrated an 11-play drive that cut the Eagles lead to four points after a 30-yard field goal by Prater.

The Lions would force yet another three-and-out by the Eagles, their second time doing so in as many drives. After Philadelphia punted the ball back to Detroit, the Lions had just over two minutes to find some points. A costly 15-yard penalty for face masking on the defense kept the Lions’ drive alive on a second-and-16. Three plays later, Matt Prater put the Lions within one point of Philadelphia with a 43-yard field goal.

With only 50 seconds left, the Lions kicked the ball back to Philadelphia. Instead of being conservative, the Eagles decided to go after the Lions defense. Three straight completions to Nelson Agholor (16 yards), Jordan Matthews (18 yards) and Ryan Mathews (17 yards) took the Eagles down to the Lions’ 32-yard line. From there, Sturgis put the Eagles back ahead by four at the end of the half with a 49-yard field goal.

Second Half

I’m going to save myself some time here because it’s a beautiful Fall afternoon outside and let you know that the third quarter was a snoozer. Six points were scored by the Eagles and Lions combined this quarter, a field goal by each team from 42 yards and 43 yards respectively.

After yet another Sturgis field goal to start the fourth quarter—because this Madden simulation was largely torturous to watch—the Lions were down 19-12. Up until this point, virtual Jim Bob Cooter was trying to keep the offense balanced. Something must have happened on the sideline because when the Lions got the ball in the fourth quarter, things started to get interesting.

On the Lions’ first drive of the fourth quarter, the team threw the ball nine times in a row and on 10 of 11 plays total. The drive ended with Matt Prater kicking the ball, but not before Golden Tate got into the end zone:

Philadelphia’s offense continued to struggle in the second half, going three-and-out after Detroit’s touchdown to knot it at 19 all. Detroit would take over with just over five minutes in the fourth and look to give themselves the lead and the victory. Two big plays, a 34-yard pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones Jr. and a 27-yard connection between Stafford and Anquan Boldin put the Lions in the red zone. After a few attempts to get into the end zone on the ground, the Lions would settle for a 26-yard field goal from Prater to give them the lead with 41 seconds remaining.

With Philadelphia’s offense struggling all second half, things seemed to be lining up for Detroit to get the victory... until Carson and Co. hit the field. Wentz hit Jordan Matthews for a 51-yard pass and catch that took the Eagles from their own 26 to the Lions’ 23-yard line. After a timeout with 33 seconds, the Eagles had plenty of time to score a touchdown and snatch a victory from Detroit. However, the Lions defense would prove stingy and only surrender a Sturgis field goal, his fifth of the day.

Overtime

The Lions would win the coin toss and considering this isn’t 2002 and the Lions aren’t coached by Marty Mornhinweig and the game isn’t being played outdoors where wind is a factor, they decided to take the football. A slow and methodical drive took just over five minutes off of the overtime period as the Lions made their way towards the red zone. Stafford found Cole Wick for a 20-yard reception that put the Lions on Philadelphia’s 7-yard line. From there, however, the Lions failed to gain another yard and were forced to trot out Matt Prater for his sixth field goal of the afternoon.

All the Lions had to do was stop the Eagles from scoring any points to secure a victory. Much easier said than done. The Eagles took over with decent field position at their own 30-yard line. After throwing the ball away on first down, and a pass to Darren Sproles that only gained 6 yards, the Eagles faced a third-and-4 from their own 36-yard line. One play later, the Eagles were on Detroit’s 27-yard marker; Sproles broke off a 38-yard run that looked like it was going to go for six and the win, but Tavon Wilson Sr.’s diving tackle prevented that outcome. Wentz hit Ryan Mathews for a 7-yard completion that put the Eagles in the red zone. On the very next play, Wentz dropped back and hit Dorial Green-Beckham on a slant route...

Did he make the catch and fumble? Did he make a “football move”? Do we even know what a catch is? Who cares, Madden predicts another Lions victory!

Forward down the field...

Lions Madden sim record: 4-1

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