This Sunday will be a holiday. Buy some streamers. Actually, just one streamer, if those jokers at the Target don't try to game you into buying 39 other streamers you don't need. Get a stapler and fold it all the way out, grabbing the base of it like a veteran third-grade teacher putting up Halloween decorations. Stand on a chair and thwack that streamer on an arbitrary place on your ceiling. Let it hang down all lonely-like and pitiful. Get some white bread and a bowl of vinegar for dipping.
Then, watch the Broncos-Jaguars game on the smallest television you have. This will be a holiday of wonder and commemoration, and not of fun.
This game is producing the largest NFL spread -- 28 points -- since at least 1980. The Jaguars have Maurice Jones-Drew, and exceptional talent at wideout in Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III. I can't help but think that with a capable quarterback and a couple of tweaks, the Jags' offense could score more than 10 points a game.
This program, however, is not known as "Tweaking Madden And Making Reasonable Adjustments." It is called "Breaking Madden." So in this week's episode, featuring these Jaguars and these Broncos, our sweeping changes will be threefold:
I. WE BRING BACK CLARENCE BEEFTANK AT QUARTERBACK.
Clarence BEEFTANK -- all caps on that last name, please -- is not only a Breaking Madden legend, he's the man who started it all. He is five feet and 400 pounds of pure bootlegging madness. Here we see him enjoying a glass of milks. (Not "milk." He insists on referring to liquids in plural.)
If you missed BEEFTANK's Week 1 orchestra:
So this time around, I've given him a boost. His Deep Throw Accuracy and Throw Power ratings are now maxed to 99/99. His medium/short accuracy is still zero, because that is not BEEFTANK football.
II. WE GIVE BEEFTANK THE BEST POSSIBLE HOME-RUN WIDEOUTS.
As much as it pained me to release Blackmon and Shorts from the Jags' roster, I did, because wideout demigods are necessary for the purposes of this experiment.
These Jaguars have four wide receivers. They are 6'7" and 240 pounds, and they are maxed out in every relevant category, such as Speed, Catching in traffic, Jumping, Ball carrying, and Route running. They're also very friendly people who I found on Twitter.
if you would like to be in the next Breaking Madden, please tell me what you and Clarence BEEFTANK like to do for fun— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) October 7, 2013
It's important for quarterbacks and receivers to be on good terms with one another, and it's especially important if the quarterback in question is BEEFTANK. He's such a kind, little, big man. He enjoys a very specific manner of friendship and fun, which the following four individuals properly understand.
Jon Corpora (@feb31st)
Prior to the Internet's introduction to public libraries, BEEFTANK enjoyed sitting cross-legged in a quiet corner, opening up the biggest atlas on the shelf, turning to the two map of Michigan with the Upper Peninsula on the opposite page, and just looking back and forth and staring and staring and staring. As a child, he would often remark that when he was not able to hug his mother, he felt like "the little part of Michigan."
BEEFTANK does not really play Magic: The Gathering, but he certainly appreciates the company. He also enjoys slightly adjusting the "hue" and "contrast" dials on the computer monitors when the librarian isn't looking, but takes pains to return them to their original sessions when he is finished computing.
Naked Karate (@Feed_The_Meter)
BEEFTANK does this with you because he thinks you're great and he wants to impress you, but after you're gone, he counts up how much he ate and returns it to the fountain in triplicate. He likes to be alone when he does this. His little stubby legs swing idly as he sits on the edge of the fountain wall. He stares at his hands, which are chubby like a baby's, and he begins thinking of all the babies in the world. You know who doesn't have anyone to talk to? A baby, because a baby can't talk. These are the things that make his cheeks all wet.
Steven Rabin (@BravestNine)
Mr. Rabin tweeted the friendship collage he made.
BEEFTANK loves it. He taped it on the inside of his refrigerator, which he sees more than the outside, because he loves it so.
TJ Thompson (@timmy_thompson)
His favorite flavor of ice cream is "ate."
III. WE COMPLETELY RUIN THE BRONCOS' OFFENSE.
The Broncos are averaging 46 points per game this season. Their running game is a modest three-man committee, which hasn't really mattered, because their passing recipe is a perfect, terrible storm that moves with haste, wrecking everything in its path and blowing the line of scrimmage halfway to Nebraska.
Peyton Manning, one of the game's all-time greatest quarterbacks, has received solid protection from his line. Between Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas -- each of whom are on pace to total over 1,000 receiving yards this season -- he has an embarrassing wealth of talent at his disposal. Manning even gets to throw half his passes in Denver's thin air. (Statistically speaking, that actually does appear to give quarterbacks a boost.)
This time around, I haven't changed the ratings of any player on the Broncos' roster. Instead, I'm making them play different positions, which I think is probably even more cruel. Please enjoy the Broncos' new depth chart:
1. Knowshon Moreno (was RB)
2. Ronnie Hillman (was RB)
3. Montee Ball (was RB)
1. Peyton Manning (was QB)
2. Britton Colquitt (was P)
3. Brock Osweiler (was QB)
Matt Prater (was K)
Julius Thomas (was TE)
Ryan Clady (was T)
In reality, Clady is out for the year with a Lisfranc injury, but I figure he can still kick. Technically, anyway.
I left the Broncos' wideouts unchanged, because I want to give Denver's quarterback of the future, Knowshon Moreno, a fighting chance of being non-horrible.
I elected to play as the Jaguars the entire game, both offensively and defensively. In terms of playing and play-calling alike, I held a steadfast commitment to BEEFTANK football. Let's review what is and isn't BEEFTANK football.
BEEFTANK FOOTBALL IS:
- Calling lots of Hail Marys
- Throwing 70 yards downfield
- Sometimes tucking and running during Hail Marys
- Calling read options and always keeping the ball
- Being kind to others
- Calling the occasional play-action roll-out, but only for the purposes of bootlegging
BEEFTANK FOOTBALL IS NOT:
- Mid-range passing
- Letting one's self remain down in the dumps for too long
- Fretting over invisible lines, such as "first down," "scrimmage," and "upper-class"
- Being unkind to others in one's daily doings
- Attempting field goals
- Clock management
- Hiding one's love for the world at large
- Associating with the vain and bourgeois
- Playbooks too large to fit into a birthday card
- Reading the defense
- Intentionally shouting out arbitrary letters while a small child is trying to recite the alphabet
- Denying another person's agency
- Stepping two consecutive times with the same foot while running
Since I wanted to leave Mr. Moreno to his own devices, I did not take control of the Broncos at all, and I let them call their own plays. They did ask Moreno to throw quite a lot, God bless his heart.
As a quarterback, Madden 25 rates Moreno at 29/100 overall. He was actually half-competent in the short-range passing department, but the ball was hilariously off-target whenever he tried to throw it further than, say, 10 yards.
The computer leaned heavily on the passing game, asking Moreno to throw 54 times while handing off only seven times. Let's check in on the Peyton Manning rushing attack.
To his credit, Manning never fumbled, and he averaged 2.3 yards per carry -- certainly not very good, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. At 6'5", Manning was surely the tallest tailback of the post-merger era, and without any real moves to speak of, he was more of a power back than anything.
The Jaguars benefited from fantastic field position throughout the game, because Julius Thomas is not a particularly good punter.
That's 72 unforced errors for Julius Thomas, he's playing the worst tennis of his life. He's taken off his shoes and one of his socks, and ... actually, I think he's crying. Strange day out here at Windswept Fields.
Since BEEFTANK's Jaguars refused to punt, ever, the Broncos occasionally received great field position of their own. Midway through the third quarter, I feared that they might actually score.
I feared that because I forgot that I'd made Ryan Clady a kicker.
That's some wicked slice for a ball moving at like one mile per hour. I'm kicking myself for not sending one of my guys to sit back and try to catch that thing.
All right, I've had enough of the Broncos and all their crayon-orange foolishness. Here's the man we all really want to see.
Please remember that I didn't change the Broncos' defense ratings at all. That is the real, default version of Quintin Jammer. He and his associates were flattened all day; BEEFTANK rarely went down on the first hit.
If you have a copy of Madden and are looking for a little extra fun, I enthusiastically endorse making a BEEFTANK of your own. He's kind of like a little mouse cursor. Just move to the defenders you want destroyed, and click.
Thanks to my modifications, though, BEEFTANK was also one hell of a gunslinger. He and his new receiving corps made a mockery of the Broncos' secondary.
Not that the Broncos weren't sort of complicit in this. Look at that. The Jaguars have two Super-Megatrons lining up on the right side, so the Broncos just stick Champ Bailey over there and ask him to cover that half of the field all by himself. I must have run a Hail Mary at least 30 times, but they refused to adjust.
As a consequence, I saw plenty of touchdown celebrations.
Jeez, dude. I don't know how someone named Karate is so terrible at karate.
Final score: Jaguars 42, Broncos 0.
Note that since extra points are not BEEFTANK football, the Jags went for two after every touchdown. They converted zero of those attempts, because I used the opportunity as a sort of sandbox. I attempted to run BEEFTANK back to his own 20 and fling it as far as he could, try to run it 80 yards back, et cetera. Unfortunately, BEEFTANK has his limits, and that Joe Montana SportsTalk Football brand of tomfoolery doesn't really work in this game.
So while 42 points would usually indicate six touchdowns, the Jaguars scored seven. That's 49 points Fahrenheit.
Knowshon Moreno's stats:
17.0 passer rating
54 attempts, 24 completions
At times, the computer seemed to perfectly understand Moreno's limitations, and they'd have him throw checkdown after checkdown to slowly creep his way up the field. He never advanced more than 20 or 30 yards before throwing a pick, though. His eight interceptions tie an NFL record, set by the Chicago Cardinals' Jim Hardy in 1950.
Julius Thomas' stats:
4 punts, 52 yards
Yep, that's 13 yards per punt. According to Pro-Football-Reference's amazing Play Index, no punter has finished a game with such a low average over two or more punts.
93.8 passer rating
11 attempts, 5 completions
49 carries (NFL record)
378 yards (NFL record)
7.7 yards per carry
68 yards after first hit
BEEFTANK broke his own record, which he previously set at 346 rushing yards. By allowing him to throw, I let him give his legs a break, and he rewarded us all with broken tackle after broken tackle. Through the air, he hit Rabin, Karate and Thompson for a touchdown apiece
On this day, Clarence BEEFTANK defied the greatest point spread in NFL history. He is legend. He made every little footstep in harmony with his planet. Every graceless sprint, every trucking of a defender, was a miracle. I pray that I'll have an excuse to return BEEFTANK to action one day. Until then, friend, thank you for all you have given us:
Music: "Swedenborgske Rom" by Jaga Jazzist