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Saturday Sim: Cardinals - Seahawks

113382_medium_mediumLast week, the Saturday Sim featured a close battle between the Cardinals and Texans, with the Cardinals barely edging out the Texans in the last minutes of the game. That did happen. In fact, the Cardinals and Texans game couldn't have been any closer. This week, the Cardinals simulation has them traveling to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. The game wasn't as close but you'll see why in a moment. It should also be mentioned that the conditions were rainy during the game.

If you aren't familiar with this segment, it should be pretty self explanatory by now. We simulate a game between the Cardinals and their opponent on the Madden video game. The quarters are 8 minutes each and the difficulty is all pro. The penalties are also turned up higher for a realistic feel. Madden's ratings and rosters are accurate, but we in no means believe this will be the actual outcome. It's just for fun.

First Quarter:

- The Cardinals receive the ball, in which Breaston returns it to the 30 yard line. On Warner's second pass, he's pick off by Josh Wilson, giving the Seahawks good field position. However, the Seahawks struggle running  the ball early and are forced to settle for a field goal. Seahawks lead 3-0.
- The Cardinals begin their second drive passing the ball. Larry Fitzgerad and Anquan Boldin are at the end of a couple big first downs. Halfway down the field, Warner throws the ball to Dan Kreider, who fumbles trying to gain extra yardage. End of first quarter. Hawks lead 3-0.

Second Quarter:

- The second quarter begins with Matt Hasselbeck throwing a pick to Karlos Dansby. This drive, the Cardinals continue to throw the ball, with their running game being stifled by the Seahawks defense. Already having good field position, Warner completes a big pass to Tim Higtower, who takes the ball to the 16. After a face mask on the Seahawks, Dan Kreider redeems himself and punches the ball into the end zone. Cardinals lead 7-3.

- Feeling the momentum starting to switch, the Seahawks start their next drive airing it out. Hasselbeck completes several big passes to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but is picked off yet again, by Gerald Hayes. Only trying to take time off the clock, the Cardinals hand off the ball to Hightower, who breaks several tackles to the outside, and takes the ball 75 yards for a Cardinals touchdown! Cardinals lead 14-3.

- On the Seahawks next drive, they are forced to play the hurry up again, with 2 minutes left in the game. While under pressure, Hasselbeck throws a pick again, this time to Karlos Dansby, his second of the half. The Cardinals run the ball but get a three and out, and punt the ball back to the Seahawks. Hasselbeck drives the Seahawks into field goal range with less then a minute left. Olindo Mare kicks a 48 yard field goal as time expires. Cardinals lead 14-6.

Third Quarter:

The third quarter turns into a defensive battle. The Seahawks look good running the ball, but can't convert for a first down. The Cardinals are able to put together a few first downs, but must settle for a field goal attempt that is missed by Neil Rackers. On the next three drives for both teams, they can't convert third downs. Both teams get 3, three and outs each. End of third quarter. Cardinals lead 14-6.

Fourth Quarter:

- The fourth quarter begins with the Seahawks having possesion of the ball. Hasselbeck looks better then he did in the first three quarters. He and Houshmandzadeh are on the same page this drive, completing several big first down passes. They drive to the 5 yard line, where Owen Schmittcatches a five yard touchdown. The Seahawks look to tie the game with a two point conversion. Deion Branch catches it over the middle, tying the game 14-14.

- The Cardinals look focused on their next drive, with Warner looking very accurate. He's using all of this targets, completing passes to Fitzgerald, Boldin, Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban, and Hightower. At their own 45 yard line, Warner throws an outside pass to Boldin, who breaks a tackle and runs for a 55 yard touchdown. Cardinals lead 21-14.

- The Seahawks start their next drive with a balanced attack, both running and passing effectively. Hasselbeck steps back to throw, when he is hit as he passes by Calais Campbell, putting the ball in the air. Chike Okeaforgets the interception. After a few bigs gains by Hightower, Kurt Warner throws a pass to Fitzgerald, who dives into the end zone for a 10 yard score. Cardinals lead 28-14.

- With four minutes remaining, the Seahawks are still attempting to run despite being down by 14. They encounter a 4th and 4, where they decide to punt the ball away. The Cardinals get a three and out, and punt the ball back to the Seahawks. With poor protection on their last drive, the Seahawks run into a fourth down again. This time they go for it, but Hasselbeck is hit while he throws an incomplete pass. With less then two minutes remaining, the Cardinals run out the clock, while the Seahawks don't bother to use any timeouts. End of game. Cardinals win 28-14.

Final Stats

Cardinals Seahawks
363 293
Rush 124 47
Pass 239 246
13 16
TO 2 4
3rd Down 3-8 3-9
Pen-Yards 3-35 3-21
TOP 18:32 13:28

Quarterback Comp/Att(%) Yards TD INT
Warner 18/25(72%) 239 2 1
Hasselbeck 24/38(63%) 246 1 4

Running Back Att Yards Avg TD
Hightower 16 115 7.1 1
Wells 2 10 5.0 0
Jones 17 43 2.5 0
James 1 4 4.0 0

Wide Receivers Catches Yards TD Avg
Fitzgerald 3 26 1 8.6
Boldin 4 94 1 23.5
Breaston 4 44 0 11.0
Houshmandzadeh 7 68 0 9.7
Burleson 4 40 0 10.0
Branch 4 51 0 12.7

Final Thought -While the overall outcome of this game would be nice, it's not likely. The Seahawks are more accustomed to playing in the rain and it may be the Cardinals that struggle to not turn the ball over. I also don't think that Matt Hasselbeck will throw four picks in this game. It's going to be a competitive game, and the Cardinals will need a successful running game to win. What are your thoughts on the simulation?