Madden 25 received it's first roster update and it didn't take much work to tweak the sim Cardinals to get the depth chart in order. The simulated Cardinals are currently sitting at 1-0 after a shoot out with the Rams, the updated roster might temper some expectations as I noticed Levi Brown's stats drop to a 76 at LT and Eric Winston maintained his 90 at RT.
The Cardinals and Lions are evenly matched as both teams are currently rated at 78 for their overall rating.
Roster Notes: Daryl Washington put to inactive on roster by moving him off of the depth chart. Rob Housler was moved in the same way.
Writers note: Even with Feely set at the Kicker position Madden 25 regularly uses David Zastudil as the kicker for kickoffs.
1st Quarter: The Cardinals won the toss and elected to receive the ball, but Palmer was unable to connect with any of his receivers which end up in a three and out. The Cardinals punted the ball deep into the Lions territory and watched Matthew Stafford drive the Lions up the field into the red zone, but luckily the drive stalled. David Akers kicks a 35 yard field goal (0-3 Lions). The next drive is another three and out, with Mendenhall struggling to get any running room. Luckily Reggie Bush is only able to return the ball two yards following a deep punt. Stafford goes to work, but has a lot of pressure from Dockett and has to throw the ball away. The next pass is deep but it's tipped up for Karlos Dansby who intercepts the ball and returns it 45 yards to the Lions five yard line. Mendenhall takes two short runs ( 4 yards, then 1) and gets the touchdown ( Cardinals 7-3 ). The Cardinals and Lions exchange three and outs. On the Lions final possession in the first quarter they stick to the run using Bush and Leshoure to keep fresh legs making runs of 16, 8, and 12 yards. Once in the Cardinals red zone the drive stalls, the Cardinals get a big sack on Stafford for a loss of seven yards forcing the field goal. Akers makes a 42 yard FG ( Cardinals 7 - 6 ).
2nd Quarter: The Cardinals open the 2nd quarter with incomplete passes and a sack at the 12 yard line. Zastudil punts 47 yards to the Lions 30. The Lions start the drive off with a 27 yard pass to Nate Burleson who has been working the slot against the Cardinals all day. Following a sack Stafford goes back to the air for a 14 yard pass into Cardinals territory. Luckily for the Cardinals the drive stalls and Lions are forced to make another field goal ( 7- 9 Lions). The Cardinals use TM32 as a kick returner to try to get a spark going and he doesn't disappoint, he returns only 28 yards but it's exciting to watch and if he only beat one man it would have been all the way to the house. The spark was successful, Palmer opens up with a 16 yard pass to Andre Roberts, followed by two runs by Mendenhall for 6 yards each. Palmer goes to the hurry up and goes back to Roberts for a 9 yard strike. The Cardinals drive the ball to the 15 yard line, where a 9 yard strike to Floyd sets the Cardinals up for a five yard TD run from Mendehall ( Cardinals 14 - 9 ).
The Lions answer with a ten yard rush from Reggie Bush and a busted play which results in 25 yard catch and run by Calvin Johnson Jr. Bush has two 13 yard runs consecutively and the Lions cap the drive off with a 9 yard TD strike ( 14 - 16 Lions). With 2:58 seconds left the Cardinals try to drive, but the drive stalls after a tackle for loss and a 7 yard sack of Palmer. With two minutes left the Cardinals defense is their own worst enemy. Giving up 30 yards in penalties and setting up a 15 yard pass to Nate Burleson who continues to carve up the middle of the field. The Cardinals are able to keep the Lions out of the end zone on a goal line stand with 19 seconds left. Akers makes a chip shot ( 14 - 19 Lions).
3rd Quarter: The Lions open the 3rd Quarter with a three and out. The Cardinals waste the opportunity but throwing an interception giving the Lions the ball back at the 20 yard line. Luckily, the Cardinals defense is able to hold them to another Akers field goal ( 14 - 22 Lions). Bruce Arians is not going to settle for the terrible performance from the offense and pulls out a special drive of deep strikes. Palmer completes passes of 23 - Fitz, 21 - Floyd, 12 - Floyd, 7 - Fitz, 12 - Roberts, and caps the drive off with a 2 yard TD run from Mendenhall ( 20 - 22 Lions). The Cardinals go for two Palmer is able to complete a pass to Jim Dray for the 2 points ( Cardinals 22 - 22 Lions). The Cardinals Defense is fired up and force a three and out, but Patrick Peterson has to call for a fair catch on the punt. On the next drive Palmer throws a deep pass intended for Fitzgerald that is intercepted and returned for a TD ( 22 - 29 Lions). The Cardinals troubles on the offensive line continue against the Lions, following a sack Palmer hits Fitzgerald for a 22 yard gain. The drive stalls and the Cardinals punt the ball away for a touchback.
With 20 seconds left in the third Stafford tries another strike in the middle of the field to Burleson but he went to the well one to many times, Antoine Cason intercepts the ball and has blockers, he rushes up the left side line for a TD ( Cardinals 29 - 29 Lions).
4th Quarter: To start the fourth quarter the Lions have an extended drive taking half the time off of the clock. Stafford gives up two sacks on the drive but is able to cap it off with a 17 yard catch and run TD by Reggie Bush ( 29 - 36 Lions). The Cardinals continue the vertical passing game and following two big gains to Fitzgerald and Floyd get to the Lions 30 yard line with 3:30 left in the game, but the drive stalls following back to back sacks of 7 yards each and the Cardinals have to punt the ball away. The Cardinals defense is able to make the stop and force the Lions to punt the ball away. PP21 has a fair catch at the Cardinals 29 yard line with 2:11 remaining. The lack of protection is evident and Palmer has no time to throw. The Lions force three incomplete passes and the Cardinals punt the ball with 1:41left in the game. The Cardinals defense is able to make the stop for the final drive forcing a punt with :40 seconds left and no time outs.
Palmer puts the team into a hurry up and makes deep passes to Fitzgerald, Jim Dray, and Andre Roberts, but time runs out on a final pass that goes to Mendenhall who is unable to get out of bounds on a 8 yard check down.
Final Score: Cardinals 29 - Lions 36
Box Score: 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || FinalCardinals| 7 || 7 || 15 || 0 || 29 Lions | 6 || 13 || 10 || 7 || 36
Total Offense:Lions - 469 yardsCardinals - 333 yards
Team Passing - Lions - 339 yardsCardinals - 295 yards
Team Rushing -Lions - 130 yardsCardinals - 38 yards
Turnovers -Lions - 2 Cardinals - 2
3rd Down Conv.Lions - 9-20 (45%)Cardinals - 4-12 (33%)
M. Stafford 29/55 (52%), 333 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
C.Palmer 23/46 (50%), 295 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
R. Mendenhall 16 Att, 38 yards, 2.3 avg, 3 TD
R. Bush 11 Att, 91 yards, 8.2 avg, 0 TD
M. Leshoure 11 Att, 38 yards, 3.4 avg, 0 TD
C. Johnson Jr. 8 rec, 86 yards, 10.7 avg, 0 TD
N. Burleson 8 rec, 119 yards, 14.8 avg, 0 TD
L. Fitzgerald 6 rec, 115 yards, 19.1 avg, 0 TD
M. Floyd 5 rec, 57 yards, 11.4 avg, 0 TD
A. Roberts 5 rec, 68 yards, 13.6 avg, 0 TD
R. Bush 4 rec, 25 yards, 6,2 avg, 1 TD
N. Suh 4 sacks,
K. Minter 3 sacks
N. Fairley 1 sack
C. Campbell 1 sack
This was a tough match up for the Cardinals. The Cardinals Defense was able to keep the Cardinals in the game, but the offensive line was the problem that kept showing it's ugly head against the Lions constant pressure. Just like last weeks real Rams game the Cardinals were able to hang in until the end, but they ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.