(ATLANTA, GA. – Sunday, June 5)

If you have ever watched the ‘Bad News Bears’, Friday night in Atlanta must have seemed like another popular movie ‘Groundhog Day’, as Atlanta brutally beat-up on Omaha. After a promising start to the season in Omaha where the Heart beat the expansion New England Liberty 26 to 6, the wheels came off in Atlanta.

It was apparent from the first-snap that Omaha was not only physically out-matched, they lacked any intensity and were easily intimidated. Perhaps Omaha was the most over-rated first place team coming into the game, in league history.

Atlanta wasted little time establishing a dominant rushing attack with power-back Britney Demery and an absolute aerial assault by quarterback Dakota Hughes who threw for (3) 1st half touchdown passes, two to Game MVP Lauren Ziegler and an another to free-agent Omaha Heart pick-up Theresa Petruziello.

The Steam rolled to a 42-0 halftime lead. Visions of the 2015 season when Omaha was out-scored by Atlanta a staggering 133 to 13 echoed through the Heart’s locker-room at halftime. It was evident the coaching staff and the team had simply given up.

That became even more apparent as the 2nd half opened up, which included yet another Omaha turnover which Hughes and the Steam offense once again capitalized on as Hughes threw for another touchdown pass to Petruziello to increase the gap to 49-0.

Omaha fans must have wondered how it was so impossible to simply execute a mere handoff and why a quarterback of Lindsey Howell’s ability would ever start in this league. Howell struggled all-night, simply lofting up balls that were intercepted as well as taking a myriad of sacks when she could have simply got rid of the ball. Some of those sacks led to more Omaha turnovers.

The bleeding for Omaha did not stop, as yet another turnover was converted into points through the air with Hughes connecting with Adrian Purnell to extend Atlanta’s lead to 56-0. Just when you would think Omaha was completely done, the offense mounted a drive and a touchdown pass, which was of course called back because of a block in the back by Marissa Mitchell Riley.

Adding salt to the fresh wounds of Omaha, Hughes added two more touchdown passes en route to a single-game league touchdown passing record of seven. Rookie Tiara Elvin added another score on the ground to hammer in the final few nails to Omaha’s coffin, with a final score that resembled an NBA Finals score of 77-0.

The road does not get easier for Omaha as they now travel to Chicago for a July 2nd match-up at Toyota Park. Atlanta returns home to Infinite Energy Center on July 9 to battle Western Conference powerhouse Los Angeles.

Omaha Atlanta
Score 0 77
First Downs 6 16
Rushes-Yards (Net) 21-4 17-117
Passing Yards (Net) 89 176
Passes Att-Comp-Int 19-9-1 21-16-0
Total Offense Plays-Yards 40-85 38-293
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 1-4
Kickoff Returns-Yards 1-3 1-18
Interception Returns-Yards 0-0 1-17
Fumbles-Lost 5-4 1-0
Penalties-Yards 2-9 6-37
Possession Time 24:26 15:34
Third-Down Conversions 0/7 3/5
Fourth-Down Conversions 0/4 2/2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 0/3 10/10