Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Head Coach Week 1: Browns 42 Cowboys 21

So week 1 is in the books.

I started and restarted this game about 5 times. I was wanting to test a few theories and mess with some settings. The first time I started the was snowing. In Cleveland. On September 7th.

The next three games saw Jamal Lewis fumble at least three times every game. At first this was a pretty big concern as Lewis is not a fumbler. Plus, he has a 93 Carry rating. Turns out Lewis isn't 100% healthy. In fact he's at 81% but he isn't listed as probable, which you'd think he would be. So for the 'real' game I decided to platoon him a bit rather than run him like a dog.

Also in every test game Romo was a MACHINE. The Browns defense is better than '07 but still very average and Dallas moves the ball at will on me.

It should also be noted that not every game was a 63 point shootout. Dallas usually scored a lot. This game I just happened to.

But the game this morning was a bit different. I was up 28-14 at the half thanks to 2 red zone turnovers. (A Barber fumble and an INT)

The 2nd half started rocky as the Cowboys punted and Cribbs fumbled on my own 20--but I challenged the play and it was overturned. Whew. We ended up winning rather handily. I'll post stats below.

This game did show, I think, one of the AI quirks with HC and it's something that has plagued Madden for years. See, in Head Coach, the AI can throw deep effectively so it should try and use it more often. With 4:00 to go I was up 35-14 and Romo was throwing 8-10 yard passes. I was dropping back in a deep zone and Dallas ended up marching down the field, draining the clock as they went. Dallas needed THREE touchdowns to get back in it. 8-10 yard completions aren't going to cut it. Finally with a minute to play they threw a 15 yard wheel route to Owens who ran the extra 15 himself for a score.

They did onside, and failed to recover, and Lewis closed it out with a 40 yard TD scamper.

Here's how it came out:

Anderson: 16/26 263 yards 2 TD 0 INT -- 54 yards on one play to Stallworth
Romo: 34/56 420 yards 2 TD 2 INT (for those keeping score at home he was 18/35 in the 2nd half)

Lewis: 15 carries 97 yards NO fumbles
Backup Jason Wright 9 for 20

Barber 8 measly carries for 29 yards and a fumble. Dallas was playing from behind most of the game.

Edwards: 6 catches 84 yards
JJ 4/47
Stallworth 3/88
Winslow DNP

Crayton 11/100
Owens 7 /121
Witten 8 /89
Glenn 4 /39

Those dudes are tough to stop.

Later this evening I am going to go over some of the stuff to keep in mind when playing the game. Like all games, Head Coach has it's annoyances, and as much as I have gushed over it, it's only fair that I talk about the things that aren't as gushworhy.