COFL Bowl XI: Titans vs. Bears
Host: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Teams/Coaches: Titans (JTrain) vs. Bears (Jake Ayler)
Score: Titans 19, Bears 13 OT
MVP: Derrick Henry
The final season of Madden 18 would come full circle from the first of Madden 17, as the COFL's two powerhouse coaches and the participants in the inaugural COFL Bowl Jake and JT would meet again. They were 1-1 against each other in COFL Bowls leading into the game, with Jake taking COFL Bowl I and JT winning COFL Bowl VII.
Jake took his traditional route to the title game with a dominating 14-2 regular season run and the #1 seed in the playoffs. He rode the Power O out of the Strong I formation to dominating victories over the Panthers (DQ) and Cinderella Cards (Hersh) before finally getting a formidable match-up against the 4th seed Rams and Coach Laaay. But Laaay would make too many mistakes and wasn't prepared for the Power O, giving up 200+ yards on the ground in a 24-14 defeat.
Coach JT would have a messier road to Dallas, finishing the regular season at 11-5 and entering as the 3 seed. He had no issues handling Ricky and Steelers in round one, but faced a brutal battle with COFL vet Fiddy in the Divisional Round. It would turn out to be one of the best games in COFL history in what had become the classic COFL setting: a blizzard in Oakland, California.
The AFC Championship game was a classic in its own right, as Coach BK came out with a great defensive effort. But ultimately a accidental run commit would cause him to give up the game's only touchdown, and ultimately cost him the game.
COFL Bowl XI was undoubtedly one of the all-time classics. Both coaches ran the ball heavily. JT dominated the stats in the first half, but two dropped balls in the endzone turned two potential touchdown passes into a field goal and an interception, leaving the Titans feeling dejected at the missed opportunities going into halftime as the game sat tied at 3.
The Bears would take advantage with a nice opening drive to take the lead 6-3 early in the third, but the Titan run game continued to roll, as Derrick Henry blew by the Bears defense for a 41-yard TD near the end of the third (on the Bears' own signature play to boot), putting the Titans back in the lead at 10-6
On the ensuing drive, Mitch Trubisky would scramble and get hit hard prior to being able to slide. The ball rolled around in a pile of Titan bodies for what seemed like an eternity to the many Bears fans in attendance, before Trubisky was somehow able to get it back in his grasp. The Bears took advantage, using a heavy dose of Jordan Howard before switching in Tarik Cohen for a four-yard touchdown sweep to regain the lead with just 2:27 remaining.
Derrick Henry wasn't done fighting, though, and two big runs on the next drive allowed the Titans a chance at a pressure-packed 55-yard FG, which barely slipped over the upright to send the game to overtime.
The Titans would win the toss, receive the ball, and go on one of the most memorable drives in COFL Playoffs history. On a critical 3rd and 6 from their own 44, Mariota threw an out route to the wide side for what appeared to be a first down. But WR Corey Davis broke a tackle and was spun backwards, regaining his footing and losing forward progress before being tackled behind the line to gain.
After a lengthy discussion, the Titan's came out to go for it on 4th and 2. They lined up in the Strong I and then tried a rarely used tactic for them: the hard count fake snap. A Bears end burst through the line, keeping the drive alive.
Just three plays later, after a great effort by the Bears defense, the Titans again found themselves in a 4th down situation, this time with five yards to go. Being just outside of FG range, they decided to roll the dice, again trying the wide side out route against the Chicago Cover 3 look. This time, the corner Kyle Fuller saw it coming and jumped the route. But Corey Matthews someone managed to possession catch the ball, snatching it away from Fuller at the last moment.
Fittingly it was eventual COFL Bowl MVP Henry a few plays later who burst up the middle untouched for the game-winning score.