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LIFE GOES ON
Seems weird, doesn't it? Today marks the one year anniversary (such an odd word) of the biggest national tragedy America has faced since the attack on Pearl Harbor. And while America has chosen to observe today as a day of rememberance of the lives lost in the World Trade Center attacks last September the eleventh, some of us remember it every day.
And while I'm not going to make this sounding block into some big, pretentious thing about how sports don't matter and how we as a country should be focused more on world politics and making sure that everyone remembers exactly what happened, I will offer up some commentary.
I don't plan on turning on my TV today. Well, I might play some video games, but I'm sure as hell not going to inundate myself with the imagery that the media is choosing to bombard the American public with this day. I've made my peace with the event that was 9/11. I cant change what happened, I cant change the lives that were lost, and I cant change the effect that it had on this country. But I can live my life. I can call up my loved ones and remind them that I do in fact love them and continue going about my business.
The attacks changed America. Gave us that little hint of fear that swims around in the back of all our heads. But while our delusions about the world may have been swept away, our ability to continue living has not, and for that reason and that reason alone, we as Americans should spend today not watching over and over again footage of a tragedy past, but enjoying the gift that we have been given just to be alive.
So my advice to you, dear readers, is to do today what I'm going to do. Take a moment and say a prayer for the lives of the fallen and their families, and then move on. We are blessed as Americans to have such a bountiful land to call home, and that is what today should be a focus on.
Which is why I will continue right on with my Corner writing. This is me living my life. Suck it, Osama!
LAST WEEK'S GAME
Yeah, it was ugly. Yeah, the 49ers should have pulled it out easy. But with offensive personnel out of synch (a phenomenon probably brought on by a preseason in which they spent very little time on the field together) and the defense inconsistent, the 49ers found themselves having to pull out their second straight season opener in the closing seconds, and they didnt disappoint, with a quick-striking, game ending drive that was highlighted by Terrell Owens' lone big play of the game and culminated in Jose Cortez's last second, chipshot, game-winning field goal. Close wins will always help build a team's confidence, and for that reason and that reason alone this will prove to be a beneficial game.
Offensive player of the game: When the Giants let offensive tackle Scott Gragg go two years ago, one reason cited was his inability to shut down big-time pass rushers. Well Gragg got his just desserts on Thursday, holding NFL record setting sack man Michael Strahan sackless. Keying off that performance, the rest of the line kept Jeff Garcia's jersey clean all night long, not letting him get sacked once.
Defensive player of the game: Jamie Winborn played like a man among boys during the game, recording a career high 16 tackles. He also logged a sack and a pass deflection. The defense looked like a different unit with him off the field.
NEXT WEEK'S GAME
While the 49ers were able to get away with a rusty offense and inconsistent defense last week and pull out a victory, they'll get no such chance against the Denver Broncos. In beating the St. Louis Rams last week, the Broncos proved themselves as an early favorite to win big in the AFC. Their offensive attack lives and dies on the right arm of quarterback Brian Griese. Though he had a breakout year in 1999, in the last two years he's been poked, prodded and dissected by the media to the point where if he doesnt win this year, he'll be out of a job. He can produce well if his supporting cast is healthy and sound, but that hasnt happened too much over the past two years.
Despite the season-ending injury and likely retirement of former NFL MVP Terrell Davis, the Broncos are still deep at RB, with starter Olandis Gary providing a solid first option and burgeoning star rookie Clinton Portis at halfback and 2000 Offensive Rookie of the Year Mike Anderson starting at fullback. Ed McCaffrey has returned from season-ending injury last year, and with him returning, the re-signing of tight end Shannon Sharpe and the drafting of Hawaii's Ashley Lelie, the Broncos have all the tools to sport one of the NFL's top passing attacks this year.
Denver is famous for its tenacious offensive lines, and this year figures to be no exception. The starters from right to left are LT Ephraim Salaam, LG Lennie Friedman, C Tom Nalen, RG Dan Neil, and RT Matt Lepsis. Blake Brockermeyer and Steve Herndon are top reserves.
Defensively, the Broncos are a bit less settled. Between new players, and old players in new places, Denver's got some chemistry to build defensively. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Trevor Pryce has shifted to left defensive end to make room for free agent import Lional Dalton, formerly of the Ravens. Ian Gold takes Bill Romanowski's place at linebacker. Former Cowboy Izell Reese moves into the starting free safety spot.
KEY TO VICTORY: If the 49ers want to win this game, they need to come out firing early. Terrell Owens, JJ Stokes, and Tai Streets need to get physical with Denver's starting cornerbacks, muscle them around a bit, and show them who's boss. The running game should be keyed off the passing game, because Denver sports a big line geared toward stopping the run.
Defensively, the Niners need to get to Brian Griese. Rattle him. The longer he has to throw, the longer Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey have to tear apart a secondary, and Griese is deadly accurate when he has time to throw. A good pass rush will throw off his timing and make it very difficult. Keeping the running game contained will be quite necessary, but building a big lead early will render the run moot for Denver.
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49ERS 21, BRONCOS 16|
Welcome to the Madden Simulator. Herein, you can read the results and completely accurate prognostications of the upcoming week's 49ers game brought to you by Trevor and Madden 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube. If you don't have Madden 2003 already, buy it now. It's fantastic.
The 49ers went to 2-0 today, beating the Denver Broncos, 21-16.
This was a wild one early. Denver was pinned at their own 9 yard line to start the opening drive, but drove quickly and confidently out to the 49ers' 37. Brian Griese then went back to pass and had the ball swatted out of his hands by Andre Carter on the pass rush. Derek Smith recovered the fumble at the 49ers' 45. Two plays later, Jeff Garcia fired a slant out to Terrell Owens that was snatched out of the air on a leaping interception by Deltha O'Neal, who returned the turnover for a touchdown.
Garcia and the Niners came roaring back, though. An 8 play, 73 yard drive was capped by Garrison Hearst's 1 yard TD run. The score was set up by a rumbling 24-yard catch and run by tight end Justin Swift.
The Broncos got the ball back after a solid return by Kevin Kasper. Three plays later, Brian Griese threw a long pass intended for Ed McCaffrey. The ball was swatted by Jason Webster, but on the rebound it fell into the arms of running back Olandis Gary, who tacked on a couple extra yards to turn a would-be incompletion into a 24-yard play. The 49ers' defense then clamped down, stopping Gary for negative yardage on 1st and 2nd down, and then ending 3rd down with Andre Carter sacking Griese. Jason Elam still kicked a 53 yard field goal to put Denver up 3 with 1:52 left in the first half.
The 49ers took over then and Garcia directed a masterful two-minute drill. Terrell Owens caught three passes on the drive, the last a 30 yard touchdown strike off play-action in front of strong safety Kenoy Kennedy in the front of the end zone. San Francisco went into the locker room at halftime leading 14-10.
Both teams went scoreless in the 3rd period, but the first play of the 4th quarter was a 30 yard catch by JJ Stokes which set up Eric Johnson's 8-yard diving fingertip touchdown catch that put the 49ers up 21-10.
That would be enough, as Denver would drive down and score on a touchdown catch by Rod Smith, but they failed the two point conversion and failed to recover the onside kick as time expired.
Jeff Garcia earned Player of the Game honors by completing 16/22 passes for 258 yards and 2 TDs and but 1 INT for a passer rating of 122.9. Terrell Owens caught 7 passes for 120 yards and 1 TD. For Denver, Olandis Gary was the leading receiver with 6 receptions for 72 yards. He was anemic on the ground though, with 6 attempts for 2 yards.
When asked about his game-leading 6 tackle performance, 49ers linebacker Jamie Winborn responded "Oh yeah, that's cool. But did you guys hear? I was just voted Trevor's Corner Mascot! Oh man, the guys have been real jealous of me since then!"
Brian Griese, when asked about his game, said "Hey, I'm not worried. I'm just out there trying to compete." He was then seen going toward backup quarterback Steve Beuerlein's locker with a rag and a bottle of chloroform.
The 49ers next game is against the Washington Redskins on September 22nd. Your next main article and Madden Simulator will appear then. Thanks for reading!