By: Jim Wallin (LFL360.com)
Photo by: Joe Petro/LFL PHOTOS
Ontario, Calif. – For months, an aura of ominous uncertainty clouded the prospect of the L.A. Temptation reaching the second-season for the third-consecutive year, but after a 42-26 win against the Chicago Bliss, thanks to a strong performance by Game MVP Melissa Margulies (2 REC., 56 YDS, 2 TD) the Western Conference playoff race has cleared and the two-time defending champions still have life.
In a first half which saw Chicago surge to an 18-6 advantage behind touchdown runs by Jamie O’Gean, Meschel Edwards and Laura Petersen, the much-maligned Los Angeles passing game finally took flight in the final two minutes of the half. Ashley Salerno (8/14, 130 YDS., 3 TD) connected with Margulies for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Then, following a safety induced by DE Amber Reed, the Temptation quarterback capitalized on the Bliss secondary once again, this time on a 37-yard strike to Audrey Latsko to push the home team ahead heading into halftime.
From that point, the Temptation controlled the game, as Reed scored on a one-yard run to extend the L.A. advantage, while the defense forced another Furr fumble en route to a subsequent score. Chicago did finally get on the scoreboard on a Furr one-yard run with 8:48 remaining to cut the deficit to 10, but an impressive, drawn-out drive late in the game by the Tempation sealed the deal with Salerno finding Reed for her second touchdown of the evening in what would prove to be the final score.
Los Angeles (3-1) clinches their third consecutive playoff berth and will face the Las Vegas Sin next Sunday for the Western Conference Championship. The Sin defeated L.A. 28-20 in their previous meeting.
Chicago (1-3) closes out the regular season without a postseason trip for the first time in franchise history. The Bliss have an 0-5 (regular season and playoffs) all-time record against the Temptation. Bliss Head Coach Keith Hac is now 0-3 head-to-head against Temptation Head Coach David Bizub.
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