REBELLION HAVE STORMY HOME OPENER vs ATLANTA, LOSE 56-21
(PITTSBURGH, PA) On a blustery night off The Monongahela River, the expansion Pittsburgh Rebellion tried to avoid an 0-2 start, hosting one of the Eastern Conference’s elite, the Atlanta Steam. Pittsburgh wanted to highlight a run-game with Sonia Osselborn after a tough 2017 debut by Quarterback Morgan Spencer, who struggled in the season-opener against the Omaha Heart. For Atlanta, returning all key starters and adding a few impact rookies was the experiment leading into the opener.
The hour prior to kickoff as both teams begun warm-ups, temperatures dropped to just below 30 degrees, the winds of the river picked up and the skies opened up with rainfall. It became very clear neither offense was going to have success throwing the football, luckily both rosters had ace running backs with Sonia Osselborn for Pittsburgh and the dual-back Atlanta set of Jesse Locklear and Britney Demery.
Osselborn while struggling in the opener vs Omaha, showed signs of toughness and ability to find the gaps. Demery and Locklear are proven backs that have brought results to Atlanta’s offense. The 1st half opened up as expected on the ground with one of the game’s top passers, Dakota Hughes getting done on the ground, fooling everyone including the LFL camera crew with a 33yd Quarterback keeper, that gave Atlanta an early 6-0 lead.
The fans that braved the spring Pittsburgh storm, became restless as the Rebellion defense looked as suspect as it did against Omaha. Outside of the emerging play of defensive end Tracey Wilmer, cornerbacks Jessica Johnson and Remy Olinzock as well as safety Jolie Efezhae, the remainder of the defense really struggled allowing 3 more rushing touchdowns in the 1st half.
Pittsburgh did manage to mount one solid 9 play 35 yard drive, capped with an Osselborn touchown run. On several other occasions, the Rebellion offense rather easily advanced the ball down the field, but would inevitably implode inside the redzone. Behind the legs of Hughes and Locklear, Atlanta went into the locker room at halftime with a comfortable 34-7 lead. For Pittsburgh, they needed to literally and figuratively heat up in the 2nd half to have any opportunity.
The Rebellion did start to show signs of developing a team identity in the 2nd half, at least offensively, as Spencer completed several key passes including a 16yd touchdown pass to her favorite target Efezohae. But that was not enough, especially when facing a gunslinger like Hughes, despite the heavens opening up with a torrential downpour in the 2nd half, Hughes connected with Arryana Barton and Lauren Ziegler on a pair of touchdown passes. Pittsburgh’s offense could not keep pace with the Steam, ultimately losing 56-21.
Despite the loss, fans who braved the frigid temperatures and rain, felt good about the direction the Rebellion are headed in. Pittsburgh’s offense is starting to gel with Spencer developing and Osselborn taking firm control of the run game. The Rebellion offense will need to stop playing musical chairs at Quarterback and allow Spencer to continue to develop, especially because Osselborn has none of the skillset of a Quarterback. Defensively there are cornerstones to build a solid defense in the Steel City.
Pittsburgh will next face the Omaha Heart in a rematch on June 10 at Highmark Stadium. Atlanta has got to be feeling good about itself, heading into a match with their arch rival, the Chicago Bliss on June 3.
KEYS for PITTSBURGH TO IMPROVE
Spencer needs to get comfortable in the shotgun. Too often she is dropping back due to poor blocking and throwing off her back foot which leads to lofty footballs and incompletions.
KEYS for ATLANTA TO IMPROVE
The front line on both sides of the ball will need to get more physical, especially if the Steam ever hope to beat Chicago.
|Passing Yards (Net)||53||100|
|Total Offense Plays-Yards||32-234||53-160|