Seattle Mist vs Chicago Bliss


(Chicago, IL- Friday, May 20, 2016)

The Bliss had their shot at redemption last Saturday night against the Seattle Mist, but failed as they came up short. A few costly mistakes combined with facing a Seattle team that simply finds ways to win, lead to their first loss of the season as the Mist defeated the Bliss 40-28 to remain unbeaten early in the 2016 season.

Chicago had a very convincing start against the defending champs and got off to a 22-6 lead late in the second quarter after a 37 yard touchdown connection from Quarterback Jacinda Barkely and Tamar Fennell. Unfortunately, Chicago’s biggest offensive play of the game led to the turning point and resurgence of the Seattle Mist.

During the two-point conversion after the score, Seattle’s Danika Brace picked off Barkely and returned it for what is now a touchdown.

This off-season a rule change was made to the scoring of conversion plays and now when a defense returns an extra-point turnover for a score, that score is worth six points resulting in a touchdown.

Rule Change 1

The rule change has mixed opinions around the league and Head-Coach Keith Hac said himself that he “completely disagrees with it.”

Seattle Mist vs Chicago Bliss

The Bliss themselves actually pulled off the feat late in the third quarter, when Dominque Collins intercepted a two-point conversion attempt for a in the end-zone returning it 54 yards the other way. Though his team benefited from the rule change, Coach Hac still doesn’t agree with the scoring system on the two point conversions. Speaking of Collins, she had put up an amazing effort. Collins added on two sacks and six totals tackles go her stats to go along wither her pick-six.. When asked who stood out the most from Saturday night, Coach Hac quickly replied with “Collins”.

Even with the veteran cornerback’s stellar contributions, the defense still struggled late in the game. The Bliss just could not find an answer to stop Seattle’s from sustaining long drives and maintaining time of possession. The Mist made enough plays on offense to take the momentum and ultimately control of the game late in the final minutes.

One area of concern was Chicago’s running game and specifically the lack of production from ChrisDell Harris who only rushed for a net of six yards on six carries. It appeared that Seattle’s game plan was to shut down the ‘Ferrari’ and see if Chicago could beat them with the passing game led by the newcomer Quarterback Jacinda Barclay.

If Chicago had been able to establish some sort of ground attack and do a better job of controlling the clock, which would have kept the Seattle offense off the field more in the second half. This was the first time the Bliss have ever finished a game with a negative net rushing yardage (-2) on 17 carries. Harris did lead the team with receiving yards (51) and recorded three receptions, one that went for a 31-yard touchdown.
Seattle Mist vs Chicago Bliss

It was a tough loss for the Bliss, but it will be a learning experience. Chicago has a group of new athletes that are still getting their familiarity with the Chicago system and how to play the game at a high level. Barclay has all of the ability to lead this Bliss offense and you can expect her to have a better performance in their next game against New England, with another month to prepare. Barclay finished the game completing 10 of 22 passes for 129 yards with three touchdowns and two costly interceptions.

Tamar Fennell and rookie Amanda Johnson were on the receiving end of Barclay’s other two touchdown passes. Fennell finished the game with four receptions for 49 yards and Johnson recorded two receptions for 21 yards.

“I contribute the loss to having more than half rookie players. Seattle has a team full of veterans who have played together in a loud atmosphere, no matter how hard you try, you can’t simulate that in practice”, said Collins after the loss.

Coach Hac expressed his confidence in the team heading forward. Hac said “We will not lose another game in the season”.

The Bliss have a month before their next game when they head into New England on June 25th. The Bliss then play the following week on July 2nd at home against the Omaha Heart and finish their regular season at home on August 6th against the Atlanta Steam in Toyota Park.