The first round of our Windy City Gridiron-Pride of Detroit Madden Tournament is complete. Windy City Gridiron’s own Patti Curl advances to the semifinals, where she will take on Jack R Salo for a shot at the championship. On the other side of the bracket, Steven Schweickert (Panthers) defeated Gerald Mallory (Lions), 12-7. If you’re keeping up with our participants, then you know what that means. The championship of the Madden Tournament will be from Windy City Gridiron! Bear Down.
For a video recap of the Schweickert-Mallory matchup, scroll to the bottom of this article.
Mallory’s Lions came out hot in this game, with a Pro-Bowl Receiver Kenny Golladay leading the charge. A 20 yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Golladay brought them across midfield, then later they convert a 3rd a 5 on a 10 yard pass to Golladay, bringing them into goal-to-go territory. Stafford then capped off the drive with a beautiful touchdown pass to TJ Hockenson.
Scheickert’s Panthers would respond with a drive of their own, though. After a short kickoff, they started their first drive at their 33 yard line and former NFL MVP Cam Newton went to work. He completed passes of 15, 20, and 14 yards, all to a Tight End we Bears fans know all too well - 3-time Pro Bowler Greg Olsen. The drive stalled in the redzone, however, and the Panthers settled for a 24 yard field goal, bringing the score to 7-3.
The Lions next drive ended with an interception as Luke Kuechly picked off Stafford on a beautiful undercut. The Panthers were unable to get anything going on their ensuing drive though, and settled for a field goal attempt. Graham Gano missed, wide left, and Matthew Stafford got a chance to shake off his interception.
The Lions began this drive at their own 37, and Stafford threw a beautiful sideline pass to Golladay. In a controversial call, he was ruled out of bounds, unable to drag his left foot, and it became 2nd and 10. Stafford then scrambled out of the pocket and ran downfield, where he met Kuechly and had his second giveaway of the game. Kuechly smashed him before he had time to slide, and Stafford fumbled the ball, where it was picked up by Eric Reid.
On the Panthers next drive, they drove down to the Lions 1 yard line and stalled, settling for another field goal attempt. Gano wouldn’t miss this one, and the Lions lead was cut to just 1 point. The teams would trade possessions once more until Stafford threw his second interception of the game, this one picked off by Shaq Thompson with 28 seconds left in the first half. Schweickert would make Mallory pay for this one, driving down the field in less than a minute and kicking a 20-yard field goal and taking a two-point lead into halftime.
Early in the second half, the Lions had the best zero-point drive you’ll ever see. After a beautiful punt downed at the one-yard line, they drove all the way down to the Panthers 5, where the Panthers defense clamped down. On 4th and goal, they opted to go for it. Stafford dropped back, with a 6-man blitz in his face he threw to Golladay on the sideline, who couldn’t stay in bounds and would have been short of the goaline anyway. Panthers take over with the lead and 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Panthers were unable to eat much clock on their next drive, and punted with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter. The Lions quickly drove down the field, and Stafford threw a ball to Golladay which was in simultaneous possession with Panthers Donte Jackson. The catch was rewarded to Golladay, and the Lions were in the redzone. A few plays later, however, Stafford threw his 3rd interception of the game, and his 4th turnover total, forcing an ill-advised pass to Kenny Golladay in double coverage. Eric Reid came down with the INT, his second takeaway of the game. With less than 5 minutes left in the game, this was a back-breaker for the Lions.
The Panthers were able to eat up most of the remaining clock on their next drive, and made it down to the Lions 23 yard line before kicking a 40 yard field goal. With the score now 12-7, the Lions needed a touchdown to win. On 2nd and 14, Stafford went for the home run, attempting a 50+ yard pass to Golladay, again in double-coverage. The Panthers Ross Cockrell came down with this interception, and that sealed the win for the Panthers.
Overall, it was Matthew Stafford who beat the Lions more than anybody, his five giveaways being the biggest difference in the game. The Lions defense held tight in the red zone, containing the Panthers to field goals through the whole game. Graham Gano’s four field goals give him the game ball.
Patti Curl and Jack R Salo’s match is scheduled for 5PM Central Time today 6/26/19. Follow https://www.twitch.tv/salotomylilfren to view the matchup LIVE, and leave a comment to let us know how bad we’re doing.
Steven Schweickert and Robert Schmitz’s semi-final matchup is yet to be scheduled, but we will comment with the scheduled time, and you can follow https://www.twitch.tv/sjs_illini to view their matchup LIVE.
Leave a comment with your thoughts, and feel free to share your Twitch accounts with recordings of your best Madden online moments. Be well.