Fear and Confidence are Why We Lose Close Games.
I talk about the Patriots. A lot.
I think there is a big Madden 13 lesson that we can learn from them this season.
They sit at 4-3 and rank 5th in the NFL in NET Points (difference between points scored and points given up). I believe their is a strong correlation between overall team strength and where they rank in NET Points. Below are the Top 5 NET Points Teams in the NFL…
- Texans +88
- Bears +78
- Giants +68
- 49ers +65
- Patriots +58
Those stats are very interesting to see. Popular belief would say that the Top 4 teams are the power houses of the league and that the Patriots don’t belong on this list of the leagues elite.
Why is that?
Because Patriots are losing close games.
They have lost 3 games by a combined total of 4 points. In each of those games they have had sizable leads during the 4th quarter and couldn’t close out the games.
I think there could be two causes as to why they aren’t closing out close games.
1. Conservative play calling – late in games they try to close out games by switching up their play calling. They go away from what got them there. Essentially they go rogue.
2. Defenses Catching On – defenses go into the second half having a better understanding of what to expect and start clamping down on what the Patriots want to do.
Those aren’t the only reasons they are losing but I think they are the main ones.
Think about your Madden game. Think about close games. Think about how you play when the pressure is on. Think about how differently we all play during the final minutes and seconds of these games.
One of the hardest things to do is close out a game that you are winning. When you have a lead late in the game and are expected to win its almost as if we feel we have to play a certain way. I will tell you with first hand experience that early in my Madden career I use to think…
“I should try and run the clock out here because even if I fail it was the “right” call.”
“If it doesn’t work out at least everyone will know that I did the right thing.”
Its this mindset that we need to get away from. It doesn’t appear to be the fear of losing the game but more about the fear of disapproval by others.
Here’s what you need to do.
Stick to your game plan. Have CONFIDENCE. If you have been dominating all game using the best base concept in the game, Curl Flats from our Winners Kit, keep using it. Don’t change up your scheme just because the game is tight. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake late in the game.
If you take a look at the Minnesota Vikings this season who sit at 5-2 and are one of the big surprises of the league this season, you will see a team that doesn’t struggle with there identity. They are who they thought they were. They keep there play calling simple. They do what they do best and they are winning.
Don’t try and be who you aren’t and you will start winning more close games in Madden 13.
To hit quickly on the 2nd point as to why the Patriots are losing close games is also something we seem to do a lot of in Madden.
We don’t adjust to what the defense is doing. Late in the game your opponent is going to have you figured out. It’s now your job to make the subtle adjustments that will win you games. This is more of a art form and more up to you then anything else.
I have coached you up enough so that you should be prepared for this situation. You know what you need to do. You just need to execute. What I mean by this is if you are running the #BenchBonus from the Tournament Specialized Offensive eGuide and have had success all game with it, look to make a quick adjustment to pick up that first down to close out the game. Maybe you call a HB Draw to keep the clock running, maybe you hot route the far left WR to a fade and motion him out for a slot user catch. Whatever you do just make sure that you are prepared to catch your opponent off guard.
Closing out close games in Madden 13 is all about sticking to your strengths and making the key adjustments that will win you games. Keep things simple and do what you do best.
Here is a video from TWIM 76, I was moving the ball well and trying to “run out the clock” almost literally. Think about the Panthers coach not going for it on 4th and 1 to end the game with Cam Newton and 2 super expensive backs in the backfield. He didn’t want to take the heat! You have nobody to answer to but yourself, there are no 70,000 screaming people if you mess up. Yes, you need to manage the clock and game well, but always go for the win rather than “I did what I thought was right”
Stop. Breathe. Relax. Don’t be afraid to make a play. Don’t be afraid to be a champion.