Sixty seconds, 70 yards and a miracle away from a Super Bowl victory, EA Sports' Ian Cummings rallied Jacksonville to win the greatest clash in the history of Madden NFL 11 - which won't be out for another two months.
Box Scores' Game of the Week gets a celebrity submission this time, courtesy of Cummings, the creative director, and Ronnie Morales, the audio designer, for Madden NFL, respectively. Late Thursday night, the two locked horns in an alpha build of this year's edition of the pro football sim. They chose to play with Super Bowl broadcast presentation, a new exhibition-mode feature in this year's edition, and agreed to randomize their teams. The new mode does allow players to arrange a Super Bowl between teams from the same conference if they choose, so Cummings ended up with the Jaguars against Morales and the New England Patriots at Cowboys Stadium.
Jacksonville sprinted to a 21-6 halftime lead thanks to an interception and Cummings' efficient playcalling. Coming back from the half, however, Morales and the Patriots scored on their first drive, forced a three-and-out, and then scored again. But a bold two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score at 21-19 with 0:24 to go in the third quarter.
On the kickoff, Jacksonville unloaded a missile to the Patriots' jaw: a 98-yard return for a touchdown and a 28-19 lead. Morales and the Patriots shook it off, with Brady going six-for-six on the next drive, "hitting seventh round pick Julian Edelman on a skinny post for a touchdown to pull back within one score." Cummings wrote. The Jaguars wilted after another three-and-out and punted at the two minute warning, putting the Patriots and two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady back in charge.
Randy Moss got by by Rashean Mathis on a double move for a 48-yard touchdown to take New England's first lead of the game, 32-28. This time the Patriots hit the two-point conversion for a 34-28 lead with 1:06 remaining. After the kickoff, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard smoothly took the field on his own 30 with a minute to go.
We'll let you get up, pause the DVR, take a leak, grab a beer, and play this to set the scene. And now, Ian Cummings takes us home:
Garrard kept the Patriots guessing, hitting [Mike] Sims-Walker for two big gains, and audibling to a huge draw play to Maurice Jones-Drew that he tore off for 18 yards on 3rd and 10. Before anyone could blink an eye, the Jaguars were at first and goal on the 5 yard line with 20 seconds left and no timeouts.
First down: lob to Sims-Walker in the corner of the endzone. Batted away.
Second down: Pass to Jones-Drew slipping out of the backfield. Knocked down at the line
Third down: Pass to Sims-Walker at the sideline. Knocked away.
Fourth and goal on the 5, seven seconds remaining. Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth are having conniptions, both can't believe the whole game is coming down to this. Garrard drops back in the pocket, and finds no one open. He does the only thing he can do: run. He slips between the tackle and guard, and high-tails it towards the pylon. As the defense closes in around him, No. 9 takes one last gasp and hurls himself towards the endzone. TOUCHDOWN JAGUARS!"
Madden NFL 11 screengrabs courtesy EA Sports.
Alright! Congratulations to Ian, and big thanks to him and to Ronnie for the game of the week submission. Now here are the best real games of your Memorial Day weekend. Bitch, brag or banter about 'em in our sports open thread below!
(All times are U.S. Eastern:)
The Memorial Day weekend's premier event runs Sunday: The Indianapolis 500 is on ABC at 1 p.m. Also, NASCAR's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, drops the flag in Charlotte at 6 p.m. on Fox.
Game one of the Stanley Cup Finals, Flyers and Blackhawks, commences in Chicago at 8 p.m. They don't riot after the first game, do they?
After escaping a wild finish on Thursday, the Lakers, leading 3-2, try to close out the Western Conference finals in Phoenix at 8:30 p.m.
Fox's game of the week today is either St. Louis at Chicago, Texas at Minnesota or Seattle at the Angels at 4 p.m. Check local listings. Sunday, catch the Chisox at Tampa on WGN, 1:30 p.m. TBS has the Cubs-Cards at 2:15, and ESPN puts its game of the week on the Deuce with Texas at Minnesota at 8.
On pay-per-view tonight, it's UFC 114, headlined by Rampage Jackson vs. Rashad Evans from Las Vegas. Or download the card in UFC Undisputed 2010 and play it for yourself. 10 p.m.
NBC has the early rounds of the French Open on same-day tape delay beginning at noon both today and Sunday.
- College Baseball
On Sunday, ESPN2 has the SEC's championship game and Fox Sports Net has the Big 12's. Both are at 2 p.m.
Remember, send all Game of the Week nominations to owenATkotakuDOTcom, and flag it "Game of the Week" in the subject header. Please include your commenter handle for proper credit.