Posted on: January 9, 2009 4:23 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2009 8:35 pm

UPDATED: MADDEN '09 Divisional Round Sim RESULTS!

BigBluGeekazoid: The Results are in!

 "Great football is - is - is about great football *players* playin..' ya see... you need good football players in - in a big game and then ya -ya get great football, and - and - and that's what *that's* all about."

Semi-sim #1: BALTIMORE @ TENNESSEE - Saturday 4:30pm ET

*Prediction: Section_725: "It doesn't appear so cut and dry. (Titans) on a coin flip - How is that for a scientific method?"

*Prediction: BigBluMasochist: "Kerry Collins has to win this one for Tennessee, which doesn't bode well for them."

                                                                             31                   34 



  • TEN: McCareins 437yard TD Pass from Kerry Collins; Bironas PAT (BAL 14 - TEN 10)
  • TEN: Chris Johnson 1-yard TD Run; Bironas PAT (TEN 17 - BAL 14)
  • BAL: Matt Stover 40-yard Field Goal (TEN 17 - BAL 17)
  • TEN: Rob Bironas 52-yard Field Goal (TEN 20 - BAL 17)


  • BAL: Willis McGahee 64-yard TD Run; Stover PAT (BAL 24 - TEN 20)
  • TEN: Bo Scaife 3-yard TD Pass from Kerry Collins; Bironas PAT (TEN 27 - BAL 24)


  • TEN: Chris Johnson 1-yard TD Run; Bironas PAT (TEN 34 - BAL 24)
  • BAL: Willis McGahee 2-yard TD Run; Stover PAT (BAL 34 - TEN 31)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:     BAL - 1           TEN - 4
  • TURNOVERS:              BAL - 2           TEN - 0
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):   BAL - 27:06   TEN - 32:54


  • PASSING:      BAL - Flacco 11 of 20, 180 yds, 0TD, 1 INT... 
  • PASSING:     TEN - Collins 16 of 24, 231 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT
  • RUSHING:     BAL - McGahee 19 for 128 (2 TD)... McClain 10 for 36 (TD)... Flacco 3 for 19... Neal 2 for 5 
  • RUSHING:    TEN - C. Johnson 17 for 106 yards (2 TD)... L. White 8 for 53... Collins 2 for (minus) 2
  • RECEIVING:  BAL - Fitzgerald 7 for 91.. Breaston 4 for 67 (TD).. Urban 4 for 19.. Doucet 3 for 15.. Pope 1 for 6
  • RECEIVING: TEN - M. Clayton 5 for 141... D. Mason 3 for 22... Heap 3 for 17



Semi - sim #2: ARIZONA @ CAROLINA - Saturday 8:15pm ET 

*PredictionImJustLazy03: "My head tells me to take the Panthers, but I think the Cardinals will eek this one out..."

*Prediction: Section_725: "...ultimately, the more balanced Carolina offense will win the game for them."

                                                                             15               24


  • NOTE: Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin removed from starting linups due to his Hamstring injury.
  • CAR: John Kasay 51-yard Field Goal (CAR 3 - ARI 0)


  • ARI: Neil Rackers 42-yard Field Goal (CAR 3 - ARI 3)
  • ARI: Neil Rackers 27-yard Field Goal (ARI 6 - CAR 3)


  • CAR: Jonathan Stewart 77-yard Run TD; Kasay PAT (CAR 10 - ARI 6)  
  • ARI: Neil Rackers 37-yard Field Goal (CAR 10 - ARI 9)


  • CAR: Jonathan Stewart 29-yard TD Run; Kasay PAT (CAR 17 - ARI 9)
  •  ARI: Steve Breaston 43-yard TD Pass from Kurt Warner; 2-point conversion failed (CAR 17 - ARI 15)
  • CAR: DeAngelo Williams 3-yard TD Run; Kasay PAT (CAR 24 - ARI 15)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:     ARI - 4            CAR - 1
  • TURNOVERS:              ARI - 3            CAR - 0
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):   ARI - 27:57    CAR - 32:03


  • PASSING:       ARI - Warner 19 of 27, 198 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT... 
  • PASSING:     CAR - Delhomme 8 of 20, 65 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
  • RUSHING:      ARI - E. James 13 for 33... Hightower 8 for 9
  • RUSHING:    CAR - J. Stewart 12 for 110 yards (2 TD)... D. Williams 19 for 114 yards (TD)... Hoover 3 for 1
  • RECEIVING:   ARI - Fitzgerald 7 for 91.. Breaston 4 for 67 (TD).. Urban 4 for 19.. Doucet 3 for 15.. Pope 1 for 6
  • RECEIVING: CAR - S. Smith 2 for 24... D. Hackett 2 for 13... Muhammad 2 for 11... D. Williams 2 for 14 



Semi - sim #3: PHILADELPHIA @ NEW YORK - Sunday 1:00pm ET


*PredictionThe Muffin Man: "I have to go with the Giants, as I am angry at the Eagles for beating the Vikings."

*Prediction: BigBluMasochist: "I don't predict Giants games."

*Prediction: Section_725: "Ah, the matchup everybody is looking forward to, well... except for fans of those other teams."

*PredictionImJustLazy03: "Not sure home field helps much in this one, but that extra week off (for NY) sure will."

                                                                            37             3


  • None


  • PHI: David Akers 22-yard Field Goal (PHI 3 - NYG 0)
  • PHI: L.J. Smith 18-yard TD Pass from McNabb; Akers PAT (PHI 10 - NYG 0)
  • Note: Giants OL Shaun O'Hara left the game with a knee injury
  • PHI: David Akers 35-yard Field Goal (PHI 13 - NYG 0)



  • PHI: Brian Westbrook 4-yard TD Run; Akers PAT (PHI 27 - NYG 3)
  • PHI: Correll Buckhalter 3-yard TD Run; Akers PAT (PHI 34 - NYG 3)
  • PHI: David Akers 44-yard Field Goal (PHI 37 - NYG 3)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:    PHI - 5           NYG - 3
  • TURNOVERS:             PHI - 1           NYG - 4
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):  PHI - 40:54   NYG - 19:06


  • PASSING:      PHI - McNabb 20 of 30, 294 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT... 
  • PASSING:    NYG - Manning 15 of 26, 128 yds, 0 TD, 4 INT
  • RUSHING:    PHI - Westbrook 22 for 97 (TD)... Buckhalter 4 for 19 (TD)... McNabb  3 for 16
  • RUSHING:   NYG - B. Jacobs 9 for 38... D. Ward 4 for 14... Bradshaw 6 for 26
  • RECEIVING:  PHI - D. Jackson 6 for 96 (TD)... Baskett 4 for 83... Curtis 3 for 21... R. Brown 2 for 26...
  •                                    L.J. Smith 2 for 29 (TD)  Avant 2 for 21... Westbrook 1 for 18
  • RECEIVING: NYG - Boss 2 for 42.. Hixon 2 for 38.. Jacobs 1 for 19.. Manningham 1 for 18.. Smith 1 for 11 



Semi - sim #4: SAN DIEGO @ PITTSBURGH - Sunday 4:45pm ET


*PredictionImJustLazy03: "Big Ben in for a Big Game here, probably a pass heavy 'O' for the Steelers."

*Prediction: NFL_Solomon: "Eli Manning sucks."

                                                                            14                19                                                                     


  • NOTE: Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson removed from starting lineups due to groin injury.
  • PIT: Willie Parker 13-yard TD Run; Reed PAT (PIT 7 - SD 0) 
  • Note: Steelers WR Nate Washington missed the remainder of the half with a head injury


  • PIT: Santonio Homes 62-yard TD Pass from Roethlisberger; Reed PAT (PIT 14 - SD 0)
  • PIT: Jeff Reed 37-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 0)
  •  SD: Nate Kaeding 45-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 3)


  • SD: Nate Kaeding 55-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 6)


  •  SD: Chris Chambers 19-yard TD Pass from Philip Rivers; Darren Sproles 2-pt conversion (PIT 17 - SD 14)
  • PIT: Safety - Philip Rivers sacked in SD end zone (PIT 19 - SD 14)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:    SD - 3          PIT - 3
  • TURNOVERS:             SD - 2          PIT - 1
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):  SD - 33:12   PIT - 26:48


  • PASSING:       SD - Rivers 18 of 29, 209 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT... 
  • PASSING:       PIT - Roethlisberger 16 of 19, 248 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • RUSHING:      SD - Sproleses 18 for 119... Hester 6 for 21... Rivers  2 for 9
  • RUSHING:      PIT - Parker 19 for 76 (TD)... M. Moore 4 for 8... C. Davis 1 for 3
  • RECEIVING:   SD - A. Gates 8 for 100.. V. Jackson 5 for 46.. Chambers 2 for 23 (TD).. Sproles 2 for 15..
  •                                    Manumaleuna 1 for 25
  • RECEIVING:   PIT - H. Ward 9 for 107.. Holmes 3 for 85 (TD).. Washington 2 for 34.. H. Miller 2 for 22 


Thanks for the input, everyone! I'm looking forward to next week's Conference Championship matchups! Enjoy the games this weekend.




Posted on: October 26, 2008 9:46 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2008 2:34 pm

RECAP: Giants 21, Steelers 14

Who's the Boss?

Giants D batters Roethlisberger; Four Carney kicks & late TD to Boss gives NY victory

It was the championship prize fight it was supposed to be - two big boys slugging it out in the center of the ring toe-to-toe. The ring was the Heinz field gridiron; the reigning champ was the visitor - the former champ and #1 contender was at home, surrounded by fans and familiarity. Both came to fight and they fought hard. Jabs were few and far between as both seemed hell bent on knocking the other guy to the mat. In the end,  the reigning champ - who was against the ropes for the better part of this match - scored a late knockout and staked their claim as "current" champ.

What a great game. What a strange game. It was smashmouth football at it's finest. There were injuries - some that sidelined players for a bit, some that knocked others right out of the game. While the Steelers defense was more efficient in guarding against big plays and extremely effectiive against the Giants running game, the Giants defense was better at getting to the quarterback.

The Giants had the opening drive and couldn't do much with it, going 3 and out. The Steelers went to work quickly on the midsection of the Giants, pounding RB Mewelde Moore (who started in place of the inactive Willie Parker) and nailing TE Heath Miller on a 22-yard strike right up the seam. 2 plays later, Moore rammed through the right side of the line and sprinted 36 yards for the first TD of the game, putting the Steelers ahead 7-0 only 4:44 into the 1st quarter.

The Giants controlled the clock in the early going, despite the quick strike by Pittsburgh. However, Tom Coughlin's "Green Zone" (his term for red zone) offense couldn't punch it in. Following John Carney's first of four field goals which made the score 7-3, Ben Roethlisberger threw his first of four interceptions on the day. Big Ben targeted Hines Ward (3 receptions for 30 yards) but threw low to the outside of his receiver and was picked off by a diving James Butler. The ensuing drive by New York carried over from the end of the first quarter into the second quarter. The Pitt defense was swallowing Brandon Jacobs (18 carries for 47 yards on the day) and were right on top of Giants receivers the minute they touched the ball. On 4th and goal, - inches from the end zone - Jacobs was stonewalled for the third straight time and the Steelers took over on downs. Pitt went three and out; on the punt, kicker Mitch Berger injured his hamstring and limped off the field. While Berger stayed in the game (and was quite effective), this was just the beginning of the Steelers punting units' woes.

Roethlisberger's second interception of the game came with 8:02 left in the half. By no fault of Roethlisberger's, a perfectly thrown pass to Nate Washington was outdone by a perfectly timed hit by Butler that popped the ball out of his hands right into rookie linebacker Bryan Kehl, who snatched it out of the air and ran it back to the Steeler 44. That possesion resulted in another field goal for the Giants, as the Steelers kept pressure on Eli Manning and the running game. NY was up 9-7 at halftime as the result of yet another stalled drive for the Giants offense and another John Carney field goal.

In the 3rd quarter, the "close but no cigar" antics of the Giants offense would bite them in the rear. Following a Jeff Feagles punt to the Pittsburgh 35 yard line, Roethlisberger heaved a perfectly thrown ball to Nate Washington along the left sideline for a 65 yard touchdown, putting the Steelers back on top 14-9. Safety James Butler actually looked surprised on the play; he displayed mad ballet skills as he pirouetted around Washington as he ran by him. In other words, Washington made Butler look ridiculous without having to do anything. It was Washington's only reception of the day, though he was denied another long TD pass later in the game - which I'll get to later in the story.

After the kickoff, the Giants again went three and out as the battle for time of possesion started to swing in favor of the home team. Pittsburgh started their next drive on their own 23 yard line, and began to move the ball effectively with the impressive work of Mewelde Moore (19 carries, 84 yards, 1 TD). Roethlisberger drove the Steelers to the Giants 36 yard line, and it looked like Pittsburgh had the Giants backed into a corner. The only thing needed to put the game out of reach was the knockout punch. Despite taking two consecutive penalties that pushed them back 20 yards- an illegal formation on Hines Ward, followed by an unnecessary roughness call on center  Chris Kemoeatu - Roethlisberger landed a haymaker in the form of another deep strike to Nate Washington for a 53-yard touchdown.

Flag on the play. Holding on Willie Colon. Beautiful pass, great catch - null and void.

Make no mistake about it, this was the turning point of the game. Colon held Justin Tuck as he shot up the middle after Roethlisberger, and it was clear that - had Colon not dragged Tuck down - Big Ben would never have gotten that pass off in the first place. The drive ended in another punt by Mitch Berger, who was limping onto and off of the field by this point. What was shaping up to be the moment a winded and defenseless Giants team was slumping against the ropes - expecting to see Mills Lane jump in flailing his arms - some weak punches and near misses gave them just enough time to catch their breath and muster the energy for one more barrage.

In the fourth quarter the Giants took nearly six minutes of the clock on a 12 play, 62 yard drive that ended with - you guessed it - another John Carney field goal to put the Giants within 2 points - just a fifth field goal away from taking the lead. Visions of Matt Bahr in San Francisco danced through my head. Steelers 14, Giants 12.

The Steelers were pinned in their own zone for much of the fourth quarter as the Giants defense began smacking Roethlisberger to the ground with regularity. It had been a long, hard fought game by this time, but it was obvious that the Giants defense benefited from the rest Eli Manning and the offense provided them. The Pittsburgh offensive line, which had done a very good job for most of the game, had nothing left in the tank. On 4th and 22 from their own 18 yard line, Pittsburgh was forced to punt. Long snapper Greg Warren had left the game with a knee injury, so linebacker James Harrison replaced him (in one of those "ouch" moments that make you look away and grit your teeth, Warren's left knee buckled under him as he was being helped off the field - bending in a direction no man's leg should ever bend). Harrison's snap sailed over the head of Mitch Berger and out of the end zone for a Giants safety to tie the game 14-14. While the ball sailed 8 feet over his head, the fact is Berger wouldn't have been able to handle anything but a perfect snap because he couldn't jump or move side to side with his hamstring issue. Berger was very uneasy waiting for the snap and looked as if he was hobbled just standing still. His body language was telling about the extent of his pain; he showed a lot of guts in staying in the game and kicking as well as he did.

Ahmad Bradshaw pulled down the free kick at the 31 yard line and scampered 16 yards up to the 47. On a key 3rd and 7 from the 50-yard line, Eli Manning fired a bullet into the gut of Steve Smith (3 for 45) down to the Pittsburgh 25 yard line. Brandon Jacobs found light for the first time and barreled for 8 yards down to the 17. Three plays later, Manning tossed his first and only touchdown of the game, finding a wide open Kevin Boss (4 for 34) to put the Giants ahead with 3:11 left in the game. Pittsburgh ran their last four plays on the next drive, with Roethlisberger's 50-yard desperation launch getting picked off by safety Kenny Phillips to seal the deal.


*Ben vs. Eli :      Roethlisberger - 13/29 for 189 yards - 1 TD - 4 INT       Manning 19/32 for 199 yards - 1 TD - 0 INT

*Between The Lines : Ben Roethlisberger was knocked down 15 times and sacked 5 times. By comparison, Eli Manning was not sacked, and knocked down only 3 times. The rushing yardage totals were close, though neither team reached 100 yards. The Steelers, however, were much more effective in their running attack - averaging 4.5 yards per carry. New York averaged just 2.4 yards a carry.

*More "dropsies" for NY - Four to be exact. Two short ,simple passes to Madison Hedgecock went in and out of his hands like a hot pot of coffee. Mario Manningham dropped a similar pass later on with no one around him, and Jacobs took a handoff on a run that he let slip out of his grasp a few steps beyond the line. Manning may want to ask the coaches about this, because after three games of similar problems no else seems to notice.

*Injuries : Giants CB Kevin Dockery was knocked out of the game with muscle spasms. RB Brandon Jacobs also spent time on the sidelines during the fourth quarter, and appeared to be walking gingerly at times. He did come back in the game however, but team doctors will want to take a look att him this week. The Steelers lost Greg Warren as mentioned, along with Strong Safety Ryan Clark. No word yet on the extent of Clark's injury. As mentioned, punter Mitch Berger was hobbling and both will likely be evaluated on Tuesday. Also, Roethlisberger appeared to grab his left hand after a 1st quarter handoff to Moore. He immediately went to the sidelines to have it wrapped. It didn't seem to bother him afterwards, but it might be worth keeping an eye on.

*Terrible towels? How about Terrible Support : How about terrible attention to details... I had previously posted here that I was really surprised at the number of empty seats during the last 2 minutes of the game. As momluvsfootball pointed out, fans might be watching from the ramps along the upper tiers. I did in fact notice that during the last drive but never equated one with the other. I also spoke to a friend and Steelers fan today who has gone to games at Heinz field and said he's done this as well. Steelers fans (knowing some of them personally) are in fact loyal and knowledgable, and my questioning of the empty seats was more out of wonderment than trying to be accusatory. So in light of this information I apologize for the original criticism of the Steelers faithful I had posted.




Category: NFL
Posted on: October 22, 2008 8:38 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2008 11:59 pm

Giants @ Steelers: The Preview 'Preview'

A game so big, even the preview needs a "preview"

Every week, I post a Giants "Things to Do" list for their upcoming game. I'm not ready for it just yet. I need to warm up...

This Sunday's trip to Heinz field is a big one, as the Giants find themselves in the familiar position of having to prove themselves (once again) to the rest of the NFL community. Its a position they seem to relish; the underdog. After what they accomplished last year, and starting off 5-1 this year, they still aren't taken as serious contenders. Now that the Cowboys are faltering and the NFC Central is a logjam of .500 teams, the Giants are getting some attention again. However, with their loss to Cleveland and lackluster showing against San Francisco, "experts" do not see them in the same light as Tennessee or Pittsburgh. Maybe that's fair, afterall.

This weekend's matchup is quietly bubbling beneath the suface. Below was a comment I'd made on the Winner of NY Giants-Pittsburgh? thread started by "WestCoastGator". The thread has kept its momentum these past few days, with a hardy debate and some bold predictions. There's some disagreements, and of course fans are staying true to their teams, but the comments are civil and well thought out. It's almost a reflection of the teams themselves. Upper echelon teams and classy organizations. So classy in fact, that no one's really getting down in the mud fighting yet. But there's a momentum building - this wave of energy that's picked everyone up to carry them right up until 4:15 Sunday - that is undeniable. It's arguably the "biggest" game of the year because there hasn't been a meeting of such closely matched powerhouses because of the up and down nature of team performance in the NFL today. And there's the 'Ben vs Eli' thing.

I'm not bold or stupid enough to predict a NY victory, especially against a club like the Steelers. It's not in my nature. What I've done instead is provide three reasons I LIKE the giants' chances this weekend, and three reasons I DON'T like their chances.

Why I LIKE the Giants chances vs. the Steelers

1. Versatility in the running game: If Brandon the bulldozer can't get it done, they can go to Ward who's speedy and has a quick burst out of the backfield. If Ward struggles, they can go to Bradshaw who's elusive and hard to drag down. Both teams have talented running backs, but the Giants are averaging 60 more yards per game and 5.6 per carry versus the Steelers 3.9. With both teams having strong defensive fronts, the Giants might have more success in the running game

2. Getting to the Quarterback: Fair or not, Big Ben has been known to hold the ball too long, and sometimes he takes sacks when he should be throwing it away. Manning has been sacked 6 times this year compared to Roethlisberger who's been sacked 19 times. Granted - 9 of them were against philadelphia, but he went down 3 times in each of his games with Baltimore, Cleveland & Jacksonville, and 2 times in the opener against Houston. Does it mean very much in terms of this week's game? Maybe not, but it means that a good defense can get to Roethlisberger at least 3 times a game.

3. Plaxico out to prove himself: He wants to prove something to Pittsburgh. What that is, I don't know - either that they're missing out on something special, or that he can get through a game without cursing out his head coach. But ususally when Plax has something to prove, he has his best games. He also wants to put the garbage of the suspension and sideline antics with Coughlin behind him. he'll either implode or play lights out. I think he'll play lights out. in addition, Pittsburgh's secondary is banged up right now - it looks like McFadden is out. Polamalu may play, but will he be 100%?

Why I DON'T LIKE the Giants chances against vs. the Steelers.

1. Is the Captain healthy? If Antonio Pierce can't go, Chase Blackburn gets his second consecutive start at MLB. Blackburn did a commendable job against the 49ers on Sunday with 8 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Not only did he play well but he managed the defense and handled the radio signal calls. That was on Sunday. Last  Sunday, at home. Against San Francisco.

This ain't home, and this ain't San Francisco.

2. Eli's downfield awareness: Manning had his first rough outing this season against the Browns. While he was more accurate than the stats imply from Sunday's 49ers game (16 of 31, which might have been 21 of 31 if it weren't for dropped passes), he nearly threw 3 interceptions. One was right in the hands of a defender that couldn't hold on, and one was read perfectly by Nate Clements that just sailed out of his reach. There's not a chance that Eli knew he was there, and if he did I wouldn't be able to understand his decision to throw there anyway. He got lucky, but he's got to scan the field a whole lot better this week or the Steelers will make him pay.

3. The Secondary: Perhaps Steve Spagnuolo has tweaked the defensive scheme to account for the loss of Pierce - perhaps he had to do this against the Browns knowing Pierce wasn't going to have the speed to cover anyone and had lost Gerris Wilkinson . Perhaps. Or perhaps it's something else. In any event, Aaron Ross has been lit up the past two weeks and the d-backs, overall, look slower than usual. They look as if they're reacting as opposed to covering. 

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com