A Madden 2005 Moment – Barnwell


Detroit Lions (Bill, 9-0) at San Francisco 49ers (CPU, 4-5)

Week 10, 2007

(by Bill Barnwell)


A little introduction to begin. I rebuilt my team after the 2006 season, trading away all my veterans for draft picks or younger players and eating the cap problems. I ended up with something like eight first rounders, which turned out reasonably well all things considered. My team will be amazing but right now they are just pretty good – I think my highest rated guy is a 91. I built my team around a great offensive line and a great defensive line – everyone else is pretty fungible. My weaknesses are a mobile if mediocre QB (79 overall, rookie) and my cornerbacks, where the starters are an 83 and a 79 (the latter of which is also a rookie). I am, however, 9-0 in a weak division.

The 49ers are 4-5 but have a pretty decent team – somehow, Mike McMahon – I knew it all along Dave – has become a 92 overall, and they still have Kevan Barlow, Brandon Lloyd, and Julien Peterson. They have random replacements and filler elsewhere and they are definitely the superior team ratings-wise to me. The 49ers apparently built a new dome and that is what I’m playing in. Sadly, we are not far enough along in Madden to have gotten any of the bizarre things you can buy as upgrades for your stadium in the later seasons. Yes – I am talking GOALPOSTS OF LIGHT. I am talking FORCE FIELD DOME. This is what you find out when you play way too much Madden people.


  • I lose the coin toss but get the ball. I drive pretty easily to the 49er 30 but get stalled. I kick a field goal (96 power/65 accuracy) that barely makes it though the uprights. Lions 3, 49ers 0
  • The 49ers get the ball and grab a couple of first downs throwing to their TE (George Wrightster?) over the middle. I am playing mostly Cover 2 so I figure my linebackers will learn after a while. I playmaker a defensive lineman to shift backwards into a zone before the snap and he knocks down a 3rd and 8 pass. 49ers punt. I get the ball and do the same. The 49ers get the ball around midfield and pick up a first down hitting Wrightster over the middle. I’m am getting frustrated, so I go from a Cover 2 to a Cover 1, meaning I’m playing man on the outside, my middle linebacker in a zone, and one safety in a a zone in the middle, with the other safety playing man on the TE. This means no safety help on the outside. First quarter ends.


  • With me no longer shifting my defensive linemen back into zones to stop Wrightster, they remember that they’re the basis of my defense and freak out. I pick up sacks on first and second down and the 49ers have 3rd and 22. Remember how there was no safety help outside? Brandon Lloyd beats my 79 rookie CB – Mike Harris – deep and there is no way anyone is catching up. He highsteps and my safety hits him as he falls into the endzone, but he doesn’t fumble and the 49ers take the lead. 49ers 7, Lions 3
  • I get the ball back and get stuffed on the ground – I run 75-80% of my rushing plays to the right and Julian Peterson is just eating me alive. I punt quickly and the 49ers get the ball back. They go 3 and out on 3 passes and punt to me. As the punt’s in the air…my roommate walks in front of the television. Now – I am a tolerant guy. I don’t get angry over many things. And I was not angry at my roommate. But that’s just unexcusable. You have to be watching out for that. I lose the punt in the air as he passes and don’t fair catch – I fumble and the 49ers return it 20 yards for their second touchdown. I’m not sure what I’m going to do in return. I am thinking my best bet is probably to pee in the iron before he irons his clothes for work next week. Aww. 49ers 14, Lions 3
  • So now I am both unhappy and losing by two scores. There is 2:30 left in the half. I get the ball and my quarterback – 104.1 passer rating all season, playing field manager, not making mistakes, can’t complete a pass. He is 4-11 for 47 yards. I punt. The 49ers get the ball with 1:58 left.
  • They quickly drive to midfield and get stalled out again with 1:30 left and have a 3rd and 8 from my 42. No one gets open and McMahon rolls out left, waits, waits..and throws a lob up to the end zone, where it’s Lloyd versus Harris and safety help. I immediately know Lloyd will catch the ball and yell out a blue word before he catches it. 49ers 21, Lions 3
  • Now I am just thinking about throwing my roomate’s computer out into the snow. Stupid punt returns.
  • I get the ball with just over a minute left and while I can still win if I don’t score – it’d make my life easier if I could. I have 2 timeouts. I have to use 1 of them on the first play when I complete a pass to my TE (who leads the league in receptions – 65 after this game ended) and the computer automatically calls a timeout for me. My QB is drilled on the play and has to leave the game – he’d miss the rest of the game with…I forget. Let’s say a sprained ankle.
  • So who comes in? Veteran Presence poster boy and Ed Agner apartment pinup Ricky Ray – who is 74 overall and not by any means an awful backup QB. And so immediately I figure – if I don’t score here, I’m in trouble. Ricky Ray rolls out right and completes a 55 yard pass on his first play, where the ball was so far off the go pattern that my WR had to run at least 10 yards horizontally to catch the ball. I am psyched. Ray throws a touchdown on the next play and I am alive. 49ers 21, Lions 10
  • The 49ers get the ball back with 40 seconds or so left and decide to try and drive. I just play straight man coverage (yes – I am the Lions – of course I play straight men) and shift my linebacker into a zone and decide to not worry about Barlow going out for passes. The first pass is incomplete and the second is a 5 yard out to Lloyd…INTERCEPTED by Harris. I am stoked because I see his overall rating going up 1 really soon. He returns it to the 10 and I am in business.
  • Unfortunately, Ricky Ray isn’t as effective and I have to kick a field goal. Regardless, there is a huge swing. 49ers 21, Lions 13


  • The cheerleaders do a routine to the Alter Bridge song. I am a little upset – if anywhere is going to do a routine to the Faith No More song, it really should be San Francisco.
  • I throw some food on my roomate’s floor to feed the mice.


  • I want the ball and I am going this way to score. Oh – that only works if you have wide receivers who can catch the ball? Hey! Guess what? I do! Ricky Ray runs a 9 play drive and I get in on 3rd and goal from the 2 on a lob to my TE. He gets both feet in and the 49ers challenge goes for naught. I decide to go for 2 and the 49ers CB (Antoine Winfield?) times a hit perfectly to knock the ball out of my rookie WR (83)’s hands. 49ers 21, Lions 19
  • The 49ers get the ball and drive to midfield. They start to get fancy and on a cover 2, try and throw a quick slant to Lloyd. My linebacker tips the ball to Harris, who gets his second pick of the game. He returns it to the thirty and now I am really seeing Madden points in his future and I am really, really giddy.
  • I score almost immediately. I can’t even remember how but I know Ray threw to someone for his third TD. At this point I am wondering whether Ed has any extra poster tubes. Lions 26, 49ers 21
  • The 49ers get the ball and begin to drive as time runs out on the quarter. Right before it ends, Barlow gets hurt and suffers an injury that will keep him out of this game and the next two.


  • So the 49ers again drive and bring the ball to my 41. I’m…a bit worried. Cedric Wilson is killing my other CB as they have decided Brandon Lloyd is no longer the way. I get the Lions in 2nd and 12 and drop back 8 – McMahon has all day to throw and then decides not to. He starts running and jukes out my middle linebacker. I am a little bemused. Then he gets past my cornerback. And then runs over my free safety. Now I am pissed and mashing buttons. Mike McMahon runs through half of my team and scrambles for 28 yards. I start attempting to breathe very slowly.
  • My DL seems to have collectively taken this entire drive off which worries me, but on first and 10 from the 15, three of the four run over their blockers and McMahon gets buried. I feel a little better. On second down, McMahon tries to throw a lob to Lloyd over Harris…and Harris picks it off AGAIN! Three interceptions for my boy! Now I am running around the room and figuring out how long his contract extension should be. I have the ball on my 8 and there is 3:40 left in the game.
  • I run the ball twice and get a few yards. On 3rd and 6, I drop back but no one is open – so I run with Ricky Ray. I get the first down but Ray gets nailed by Peterson and…fumbles. The 49ers recover. I begin to wonder what online websites would carry Drew Henson posters for Ed.
  • Ah – but I am, if anything, desperate, and challenge. And sure enough – the computer overrules it. Not that it was the right call to overrule – but I have been screwed over enough on those calls that I am not going to cry about it. The crowd boos for minutes, though, being the first instance of a crowd actually reacting properly to anything in Madden, ever.
  • I drive with a couple of big passes and get the ball to their 25 when the two minute warning hits at 3rd and 4. I don’t make it on a sweep past Peterson and I kick another field goal. Lions 29, 49ers 21
  • So, as you might expect, the Mike Harris jig is up. Lloyd abuses him all drive and it takes the 49ers about a minute to go 70 yards and score. So now it’s 29-27 and they have to make a 2 point conversion.
  • Apparently buoyed by his success earlier, the 49ers decide to run a sprint-out with McMahon. Unfortunately for them, I am playing 8 guys in the box and my defensive line is waaay too good with an extra guy there. McMahon gets squashed and I still have the lead. Lions 29, 49ers 27
  • The 49ers try an onside kick but I recover. I have to get a first down to be able to run the clock down. I do…but on the first play, which means that they can still stop the clock with enough time. I gain 8 yards on the next first down, with my right tackle finally pancaking Julian Peterson. They call a timeout, but I get 17 on the next play behind my pulling left guard and the game is over.


  • Ricky Ray’s kinda nifty. 13-21, 200 yds, 3 TDs.
  • Julian Peterson is scary. Brandon Lloyd is scary. Fred Beasley is not going to tolerate this.
  • Mike Harris is going to get credited with 3 interceptions and none of the plays against him and I am going to have a great cornerback. Until he holds out and I trade him on principle alone. Grr…

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