Guest blogger Cam Allen delivers yet another detailed write up. This time he focuses on slowing down the high powered Tecmo Bowl 49er's offense. You can't stop Joe Montana, but you can do you part to give Jerry Rice a bad day on the stat sheet. Cam does a great job breaking down the ins and outs of the 49er playbook and how to combat it. Enjoy!
You can't stop San Francisco, you can only hope to contain them.
In a capable player's hands San Francisco is the biggest nightmare in Tecmo Bowl. Maybe the Giants are better but they are slow, methodical, and generally give you hope of catching the 1 break you need to topple them. Sure Chicago is loaded with star players and will just crush less talented teams but let's face it, Chicago stops themselves. But San Francisco...they are terrifying.
The standard defensive tactic used to try to stop SF is of course:
Call Pass 1. Again and again. And again and again. Until San Fran is running almost exclusively Pass 2 or Pass 3 out of fear of being play picked on a Pass 1 call. Why?
This takes Jerry Rice out of the game as he will be covered on all 3 pass plays. This along with being a topside defender wipes out Run 1 and Pass 1 for SF. Against a normal team that's all you ever have to do to eventually stop them, take away 2 of their plays and you control what plays they run and you give yourself a great chance of a play-pick whenever you want to take a shot and try for one. But with SF, this plan leaves their Pass 3 Shotgun pass wide open to do serious damage. It leaves a deep and shallow receiver open and you just get picked apart either 12 yards at a time or the deep pass hits for 30.
Now the real problem is that if you attempt to mix in some Pass 3 defensive calls Jerry Rice's fly route on Pass 2 is opened up and with receivers wide open at the top, it's a minimum 15 yard gain.
Still, this is the only viable plan against San Francisco. Let's go over the other options and the computer defense coverage they provide:
Run 1: Suicide. Provides 0 pass coverage. Should only ever be called in short yardage situations where they might look to pick up 1-2 yards for a 1st down/touchdown. Run 1 is effectively taken away by just controlling a topside defender, so calling the play is a very bad idea. Against San Fran you should exclusively use a topside defender, UNLESS you are a team with a super duper star defender on the center/bottom (Chicago's Singletary the prime example) then you can occasionally use one of them as the offense should never be calling Run 1 to burn you with. Eventually your opponent will catch on and start mixing in some Run 1 to keep you honest. However, this is not an entirely bad thing. Do you see why?
Pass 2: Ineffective against Pass 1 (covering the TE, leaving the top and bottom receiver open) and opens the floodgates on Pass 3, where SF can do the most damage. Ass Wilson will be covered by the top safety but this is essentially meaningless as SF will still have Rice on the deep route and 2 receivers open running short patterns.
Pass 3: Works fine against Pass 1 (bottom outside linebacker covers Rice, leaving only a very risky throw for Montana) but opens up Rice on Pass 2 and causes all kinds of problems. The bottom safety will cover the TE on pass 2 but with Rice open long and with Wilson and Craig open short it has no effect on the play for Montana.
There's all kinds of problems with each of these. How about a random strategy you say? Let's look at what a random strategy could do:
Assume both players ignore Run 1 (as they should, ignoring short yardage 1st downs and touchdown scenarios) and select their play 100% at random. That is 1/3 of the time Pass 1, 1/3 Pass 2, 1/3 Pass 3. The chances of 3 straight playpicks is 3.7%. The only other combination of play calls that prevents SF from getting a 1st down is Pass 2 vs Pass 1 defense and Pass 1 vs Pass 3 defense. There's a 11.1% chance (1/3*1/3) of either of those happening on any given play. So here's the scenarios on any given play:
33% playcall, 22.2% chance of a favourable combination, 44.8% 1st down.
Unfortunately for defenses SF gets to run (at least) 3 plays. So the chances of preventing a truly random SF offense with a truly random defense from picking up a 1st down is about 17%.
And this ignores some complications like the fact that on Pass 2 vs. Pass 1 SF can easily pick up 3 yards. And oh yeah, THERE'S A 4TH DOWN.
If you win the field position battle and SF always starts at their own 20, they need 3 first downs (assuming approx 12 yards/1st down) to kick a FG. The chances of SF getting into FG range before being stopped is 58%. Assume 6 1st downs to put it in the endzone and that's a 33% chance of a TD. To recap, you will lose playing a truly random defensive strategy against SF.
The only way to play them is by playing a mixed strategy where your defensive play calling influences what mixed strategy of offensive calls SF makes. And looking at the coverage schemes the only favourable way to do this is by calling a heavy mix of pass 1 and using a topside defender to nullify Run 1.
Calling Pass 1 will at least slow SF down a little and force them to complete a few shotgun plays to get into FG range. You'll have to mix in several Pass 2 or 3 calls in hopes of catching a playpick or 2 in order to stop them, but at least calling a lot of pass 1 gives you that opportunity
TecmoBowl-vs-R.B.I. Baseball website creator who has accumulated 20+ years of NES sports gaming.