ATLANTA LOSES STEAM IN 2ND HALF, LOSING 34-27 TO CHICAGO
(CHICAGO, IL. – June 3, 2017) ‘An inability to perform some mental action’ is the definition of a mental block, which is exactly what the Atlanta Steam seem to be suffering from when playing their rival the Chicago Bliss. For a second straight game, Atlanta had a comfortable lead at Halftime, only to be out-played and out-coached in the 2nd half.
Through one half of play, Atlanta was executing almost flawlessly with its scheme of establishing the run game with a combination of Jesse Locklear, Britney Demery and the rookie Jessica Salazar. Some LFL analysts could argue that too much emphasis was placed on the run game, especially when you have a top three signal-caller in Dakota Hughes. Salazar and Locklear accounted for two of the three 1st half touchdowns, both from 1 yard out.
Perhaps the biggest concern for Atlanta was not its one-sided offensive scheme, but its secondary play. A secondary that gave not one, not two, but three deep balls to Chicago’s AJ Johnson of 23, 30 and 20 yards, respectively. While Johnson has matured into perhaps the game’s biggest deep ball threat, the Atlanta secondary made Johnson look invincible.
Despite these issues, Atlanta did manage a 21 to 14 lead going into Halftime. Regardless of their lead, there was a certain uneasiness in the Steam locker-room, having given up their previous and more substantial Halftime lead to Chicago in the Eastern Conference Championship in 2016.
The tactic of Atlanta offensive coordinator Mark White was to sit on the ball and take a more conservative approach in the 2nd half, which was a departure from Atlanta’s pass-happy scheme in the 2nd half of the Eastern Conference Championship. However, the conservativeness, led to another Atlanta collapse as the offense only managed one 2nd half touchdown which was a late in the 4th quarter touchdown from Hughes to Adrian Purnell. Meanwhile Chicago rallied as it usually does in the 2nd half, with three touchdowns, two of which coming on the ground from ChrisDell ‘Ferrari’ Harris and Jayne Caldwell while Caldwell once again connected with Johnson on a 20 yard bomb.
Chicago continues to show its dominance in coaching over Atlanta, the mental block is not shared by Atlanta players but its coaching staff as well.
Atlanta next hosts a dangerous Austin Acoustic team on June 17 while Chicago goes on the road to a team they have owned, the Omaha Heart.
|Passing Yards (Net)||67||79|
|Total Offense Plays-Yards||37-146||32-157|