If I start a franchise, the first thing I have to do is trade for a QB, because Harrington stinks and due to his extremely low awareness score, Shockley is not much better. The following are a couple of recaps of games, with a few random observations. Both games are on Pro, with 5 minute quarters. The first game only has minor slider adjustments (+ penalties; and – kick off power), while the second one has a lot more turning (+ penalties, running, run blocking; – kick off power, INTs). I will post some settings once I get something that is a closer fit to my playing style.
Falcons 38 – Dallas 0
- Romo had 4 INTs
- Shockley was 4-6, 44 YDs, 0 TD, 2 INTs
- Harrington was 5-6, 66 YDS, 1 TD, 0 INT. Obviously I am only successful dinking and dunking with a short passing game.
- I am still only averaging less than 3 YDs per rushing attempt. The Falcons should be much, much better.
- Jones had two fumbles (to my 0). The CPU should have challenged the first, because Jones clearly fumbled after he was on the ground. I have yet to see the CPU challenge a turnover.
- On one play, Dunn fumbled, but I was pretty sure he was down, so I challenge, and the play was over turned.
- I have been spending a lot of time in replay mode to see what is what, looking for cheating, poor blocking, etc. Call me silly, but I love the NFL Films music that plays during the replays. Nice touch.
- I am getting pretty decent punt returns, but the CPU AI does not get a lot of attempts (ATL’s Koenen is good) unless I out kick my coverage or miss a tackle.
- Funniest animation to date was on a play where Romo goes into this crazy flip animation for a sack after someone barely taps his right toe. I guess this is where 60 FPS on the Xbox 360 could come in handy.
- I returned an INT and a fumble for a TD. I would have had a second time off of a fumble, but the TD was called back due to a clipping penalty.
- It is actually fun using one of the better (weapons based) defensive linemen. This is different than past Maddens. I feel like I can actually do some damage; stuff a run, sack the QB, or maybe cause the QB to hurry.
- On one play I got called for an off sides penalty. I had control of my player (green circle, so I am not crazy). The circle disappeared, and my DE jumped off sides. Must have been a random act of God.
- I still like the overall player control responsiveness, but at times I feel like the game over compensates with inertia that takes control of a ball carrier or a defender.
Despite the lopsided score, the game was still fun. The INTs hampered Dallas, and I just cannot get a decent offense going. In a strange sort of way, I can see this happening to the Falcons in real life this year. The QB situation is going to play havoc on the running game. The Falcons are going to be in serious trouble.
Falcons 29 – Texans 10
- This was the best game so far. If you throw out 14 points for the two INT TDs, then the game was much closer than the score indicated.
- Scoring summary: Green (HOU) 5 YD TD run, Horn (ATL) 76 YD reception from Shockley, Brown (HOU) 19 YD FG, Cundiff (ATL) 23 YD FG, Hall (ATL) 77 YD TD INT, Safety (ATL), Cundiff (ATL) 48 YD FG, Hall (ATL) 81 YD TD INT
- Shockley 7-11, 1 TD, 0 INT, 166 YDs, 137.4 rating
- Schaub 16-25, 0 TD, 2 INT, 183 YDs, 52.6 rating; Schaub was 7-10 at the half; 8 different receivers caught a pass
- Green 20 rushes for 93 YDS, 1 TD, 4.5 AVG/rush
- Dunn 12 rushes for 42 YDs, 3.5 AVG/rush
- HOU Total offense 279, 98 rushing, 181 passing
- ATL Total offense 189, 46 rushing, 143 passing (76 on one TD reception to Horn)
- Late in the 4th quarter, I managed to coffin corner kick a punt at the 1 yard line. On their first play, HOU had a nice run for 8-9 yards, but it was called back on a clipping penalty. The very next play, I tackled Green in the endzone for a safety.
- On Hall’s first TD INT, Hall was back-peddling, facing the QB the whole time. Very legitimate; no hints of cheating.
- On the second Hall TD INT, Hall probably jumped the route, but he was back-peddling, and perhaps more important, Schaub was looking in Hall’s direction the entire play.
- Cundiff’s 48 yard FG is the longest I have seen to date; it barely made it across the crossbar.
The good news is that I feel that the slider adjustments actually made the game better. Turnovers were down, the CPU put up a great ground attack, and the passing game would have been dandy if not for the two INTs. I am disappointed that I still cannot mount a decent ground game, but hopefully that will come with more slider settings and experience.
So far this Madden has me thinking “just one more game” which is not something I have felt from Madden in a long, long time. I also typically shy away from the slider game, but I do not mind so much (at least not right now). While Madden 08 is not producing realistic statistics, I am not bothered too much. If I can get the numbers a little more decent looking, I am going to be a happy camper.