For a very long time, blocking special teams plays in Madden sim was almost impossible. You had to get very lucky, even in designed block formations, as defensive players never seemed to get off the line fast enough. Even when you timed a running start up to the line correctly, momentum typically didn’t carry you close enough to get your defender’s hands on the pigskin. Madden NFL 17 added new features to make field goal and punt blocks more attainable. Those features carry over into Madden NFL 18. So while blocking a kick or a punt is still rare, as it should be, it’s not a pipe dream anymore. Here’s how to block kicks and punts in Madden 18, along with a few best practices.
The first thing you need to do when blocking a field goal is to choose a block play (it will say “block” it in the name of the play). With a block play selected, you’ll see three players with red icons denoted with a “B” for block above their heads on either side of the line. These are the defenders that you can use to block the kick.
Two of the defenders will be lined up across from an offensive lineman, while the third defender typically sets up a few steps off the line on the edge. You can cycle through the player you control by pressing O (B).
Regardless of which player you choose to go in for the block with, you have to get a good jump on the snap. To do this, right when the ball is snapped, press R2 (RT). If you don’t press this, your chances of blocking a field goal are incredibly low (we haven’t blocked one without getting a good jump thus far).
Timing the jump heightens your chances of propelling the defender through the line of scrimmage. If a defender engages you, you’ll have to slither off of him by quickly pressing one of the face buttons (typically X on PS4, A on Xbox One).
At this point, the holder will have set the ball up for the kicker, and the kicker is in motion to make his attempt at knocking the ball through the uprights.
While charging in, you have the choice to either dive with Square (X) or jump with Triangle (Y) to block it. In our experience, diving works best when rushing with the outside the defender, and jumping is suitable when rushing with an inside defender.
Be warned, though, when diving and jumping, make sure to not hit the kicker. If you do, you’ll receive a roughing the kicker penalty and your opponent will get a new set of downs. To curb this chance, we make a horizontal dive directly in front of the holder, or quickly turn away from the kicker after jumping.
Your chances of blocking a field goal varies depending on the distance of the attempt. For extra points and shorter field goal attempts (35 yards or less), the trajectory of the kick makes it harder to block. You’ll have a much better shot trying to block a long field goal — 40 yards and up — which requires a lower trajectory.
We think that the reward outweighs the risk of inadvertently roughing the kicker in extra point and long field goal situations, but would advise against going in for a block on shorter 3-point tries until you get the hang of the timing.
For punt situations, once again, you have to choose a block punt scheme. Two to three defenders will have the icon above their heads for punt blocking scenarios. Like field goals, timing is key. You have to press R2 (RT) right when the ball is snapped to get a good jump on the play.
You have more ground to cover when blocking a punt, so make sure to continue holding R2 (RT) to sprint as you race into the backfield. If you get held up by a defender, which sometimes happens when attempting to block a punt with an inside defender, quickly press the indicated face button (again, typically X on PS4, A on Xbox One) to roll off of the lineman and charge into the backfield.
Like field goals, you can either dive or jump to block a punt. In our time with the game, diving for a punt should only be used when you are close enough to snag it right off the punter’s foot. Punts get airborne quickly, and you’re likely to miss it by diving even a step or two early.
Lastly, you have to be careful not to run into or tackle the punter. If you run into the punter, you’ll receive a five yard penalty (which could result in a first down for the offense). And if you rough the punter up, that’s 15 yards and an automatic first down. Unlike field goals though, we feel that going in to block the punt is a risk worth taking almost every time.
Tom Brady graces the cover of Madden NFL 18, available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Will he be saved from the Madden curse? Check out our history of the Madden curse to see the troubling odds he is up against.
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