Here it is sportsfans. At long last, after an offseason filled with disagreement, controversy, doubt and strife another football season is upon us. Tebowmania is in the past, Manning is firmly entrenched as the new starter and Mr. Catastrophe, oops, I mean Caleb Hanie, is number two. I saw some good encouraging things from this team in the preseason, especially that starting defense. And while the first two games made me pull-my-hair-out nervous about Manning, the third game made me feel quite a bit better. As long as he stays healthy, I expect a repeat division title. If he gets injured, we won't win another game, but for now, this season is bright with possibilities.
And what does the ever-entertaining Madden game franchise have to say about our week 1 match-up? Well, join me after the jump and let's take a look.For those of you who have never read this series, I take each week's match-up and play the game on All-Madden difficulty, then I simulate the game five times to get a decent sample size. I will first give the score and stats from my play-through, then I will list the results from the sims at the end.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27, Denver 24
This game did not start well. I was behind 17-0 at halftime and 24-3 at the end of the third. I had difficulty with the timing from Manning to the receivers, and I really missed the speed of Eddie Royal. Also, I missed having a QB that could take off and run with it if no one was open. I tried to scramble exactly one time and the ball got knocked loose and Manning was knocked out of the game for a couple of plays. Didn't try that again.
I was able to make it interesting at the end however, with a couple of long pass plays for scores, and was a successful onside kick away for a chance to tie or take the lead with less than a minute to go. Alas, it was not to be.
Passing: Den. - P. Manning - 19/27 339 YDs, 3 TDs, 3 INTs
Pitt:. - B. Roethlisberger - 13/19 247 YDs, 3 TDs
Rushing: Den: - W. McGahee - 7 ATTs., 10 YDs, 1 FUM
Pitt: - R. Mendenhall - 11 ATTs., 54 YDs
Receiving: - Den. - J. Tamme - 7 REC., 116 YDs, 1 TD
D. Thomas - 3 REC, 112 YDs, 1 TD
A. Caldwell - 3 REC, 44 YDs, 1 TD
Pitt. - A. Brown - 4 REC, 154 YDs. 1 TD
H. Miller - 3 REC, 70 YDs, 1 TD
M. Wallace - 2 REC, 74 YDs, 1 TD
Defense: - Den. - J. Mays - 8 TCKLs, 1 TFL
C. Bailey - 3 TCKLs, 4 Passes Defensed
Pitt. - K. Lewis - 3 TCKLs, 2 INTs
T. Polamalu - 5 TCKLs, 1 INT
Special Teams: - Den. - M. Prater - 1 FGA, 1 FGM, Long 45 YDs
Pitt. - S. Suisham - 2 FGA, 2 FGM, Long 41 YDs
Well, going by my play-through, this looks to be a tight, competitive game late. As I mentioned above, I also simmed the game 5 times to get a good sample size and got the following results.
Denver wins 3-2
Sim 1 - Denver 31, Pittsburgh 10
Sim 2 - Denver 17, Pittsburgh 14, OT
Sim 3 - Pittsburgh 23, Denver 17, OT
Sim 4 - Pittsburgh 21, Denver 19
Sim 5 - Denver 20, Pittsburgh 14
Going by my play-through, this looks to be a tight, competitive game late. The sims show a similar result in four out of the five games, with the one blowout going Denver's way. Here's hoping we see another close classic on Sunday that is as memorable of our January match-up. GO BRONCOS!!!!