Above is a link to the bracket, and I’ll give a breakdown of the games and my opponents.
My first game was against Madden Tip Nation member CrossoverCam. He brought out a solid Strong Close scheme and really attacked downfield unlike anyone else I have played this year. I played a ton of coverage knowing he didn’t have an HB Draw to check down to, and it paid off in the end.
SGibs – 28
CrossoverCam – 3
Next up I was set to play Cainmarko (who I believe is Game Time Phillys Juggernaut). A longtime Madden vet. I was confident that he would bring a solid gameplan to the table and he did. He used the Philadelphia Eagles playbook and ran Gun Trey Open HB Philly Seam flipped the majority of the game. Out of respect for his push to Vegas I won’t break down what he was doing, but let’s just say he had a game changer out of this. As luck would have it, I ran into this situation earlier in the year playing the computer, of all opponents, and realized the easy fix/solution.
SGibs – 49
Cainmarko – 14
Next up it was badnews from Game Time Philly as well. Badnews took out Madden Tip Nation member Ryan Dikes earlier in the tournament, so I was out to avenge Dikes’s loss. Badnews is another Madden vet who brought out the Philly playbook as well and had a very nice Gun 2 Back scheme that had screens, read options, and deep balls all within. He started getting pass happy downfield, so I played a ton of coverage defense once again.
SGibs – 23
The championship game was up next, and I was set to face arguably the best Madden player in the past few years: Warhawk is a member of TNA and has really come onto the scene as of last year. He is known for a pass-heavy offense and amazing reads to complement his high octane offense.
The game started out great for me. I quickly went up 17-7 in the first quarter and felt good. A couple of mistakes and fumbles quickly let Warhawk back in the game as he tied it 17-17. Just before halftime Warhawk was driving and threatening to score. He threw a pass deep down to the 1-yard line that was USER-PICKED and gave me the ball with 3 timeouts and the ball at the 20-yard line. The very next play Ted Ginn went to the house to give me the 7-point lead at halftime.
After the break I was able to get the ball back once again and go up 14 points with only 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.
For all intents and purposes I thought this game was over. The first play after my score Hawk hit me deep with a 60-yard pass downfield. This was almost the worst-case scenario. I needed to make him drive, I needed to take time off the clock, and giving up 60-yard passes was not ideal.
He ended up scoring, going for 2, and getting the conversion to close the lead to 6 points. My next possession stalled out with a 4th and 9 from my own 15ish. I decided to punt even though there were about 4 minutes to go. I could have gone for it but I felt that I could hold him, force a interception, or get a hit-stick fumble. Worst case scenario I thought that if he did score there would still be enough time on the clock for me to drive and kick the game-winning field goal. I had all three timeouts as well.
He got the ball back down 6 and scored once again. He went up by 1 and kicked off to me. I had two crucial plays. 3rd down and 4th down. Both needed 6 yards for the first down. Both were overthrows to Ted Ginn over the middle of the field. I used the same play I used to score just before the half, only this time I missed on both. It was one of those scenarios where you throw an inside pass lead and can’t click onto your receiver and manually move him into position quickly enough. If I had caught either one of those balls, Ginn was gone for the TD.
So, I gave Warhawk the ball back, and he sealed the deal and won 39-38.
SGibs – 38
Warhawk – 39
I felt I had a great chance to win this tournament, and heck, I almost did. I made mistakes in that 4th quarter, which I talk about all the time on TWIM. I played tight, I played timidly, and I played afraid. With a lead to top it all off. I was playing NOT to lose, instead of playing to WIN. Congrats Warhawk and good luck in Vegas.
I’ll be ready.