LOS ANGELES KEEPS PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE WITH IMPRESSIVE 33-26 WIN
(ATLANTA, GA. – July 11, 2016) After LFL fans have been subject to back-to-back horrific games, what happened in Atlanta on Saturday night was nothing short of a classic. A pair of Playoff-caliber teams that are loaded with passionate athletes and coaches who hate to lose more so than liking to win. Compounded by the fact that both franchises have reached their heights on the backs of incredible preparation and a desire to win.
The thousands of Steam fans that packed in Infinite Energy Arena better known as ‘The Factory’ were treated to a game that is at the heart of what makes the LFL product something with endless potential. Early on it was evident that neither defense was going to give up an inch without a fight, in some cases literally. While no one gave Los Angeles’ quarterback Jayne Caldwell much credit nor wanted her to start ahead of back-up Kiarra Patterson, Caldwell proved to be a warrior on this night, a night that LA had to win to keep their Playoff hopes alive.
Caldwell opened the scoring with a 7yd touchdown run to give the Temptation and early 6-0 lead in the 1st Quarter with 3:32 left. The remainder of the 1st Quarter and for most of the 2nd Quarter both defenses anchored down, but late in the 2nd Quarter the offensive fireworks started as Dakota Hughes found Arryana Barton with a 5yd touchdown pass to give Atlanta a 7-6 to lead. Only :20 seconds later, Caldwell and Los Angeles responded with yet another Caldwell rushing touchdown, this time a very impressive 22 yard run to regain the lead at 13-7. Give credit to perhaps the best Quarterback in the LFL, as Hughes meticulously guided her offense down the field with a great 2 Minute drill to tie the game 13-13 with a 2yd touchdown pass to Lauren Ziegler.
In the 2nd half, Caldwell was not done scoring touchdowns on the ground, opening the 3rd Quarter with a 30yd touchdown run to give LA a 20-13 lead. They say when the greats are tested, they respond, Hughes engineered two back-to-back scoring drives to respond which included a 9yd touchdown pass to Ziegler and perhaps the most gutsy Quarterback scramble you will ever see when Hughes lowered her shoulder and ran in a 12yd touchdown run. With 5:04 left in the 4th Quarter, Atlanta had a 26-20 lead.
The Factory crowd annoyed Los Angeles all-night with water bottles being thrown at them and crowd noise that created several false starts. However, Los Angeles would not be phased and would answer the challenge with Caldwell finding fellow Aussie Takairangi on a 8yd touchdown pass to edge Atlanta 26-27. However with nearly 2 minutes remaining and the best Quarterback in the game, Atlanta felt confident. Hughes had several attempts down the field that failed as the LA defense tightened up. Then the most unlikely of heroes for the Temptation stepped up, 2nd year Safety, Delaney Hall jumped a Hughes pass attempt to Ziegler and returned it to the house, placing the final nail in the coffin of Atlanta with a 33-26 Los Angeles win.
The Temptation now keep their Playoff hopes alive and can advance with a Omaha win over Dallas on July 30.
Atlanta still controls their destiny at 1-1, with a now key July 23rd match-up vs New England and finish the regular season against their rival Chicago on August 6. The Atlanta loss also opens up possibilities for Omaha, also at 1-1 in the Eastern Conference.
The Steam have to be seriously concerned as they have yet to beat anyone of substance and when tested, they have failed.
|Passing Yards (Net)||42||114|
|Total Offense Plays-Yards||40-209||44-207|