(BRIDGEVIEW, IL – Monday, August 7) This was one of those games where the score at the end, was of little significance versus the quality of the game that was played on the field. Following some horrendous displays of LFL Football with teams like Omaha and New England, fans were reminded of just how great this sport is when played by dedicated, passionate and focused teams.

The final game of the regular season lived up to its hype, as Chicago and Atlanta battled until the final drive in a 39-32 game. The 5th consecutive win for Chicago over Atlanta, dating back to the 2014 Legends Cup Championship.

Despite the game having no impact on the post-season picture, as these two are scheduled to collide again on August 20 in Seattle. A win for Atlanta would have meant a lot for their mindset and a loss means further doubt as to whether or not, they can ever beat Chicago. One thing is for certain, Atlanta can expect a lot of ‘Steam are the most over-rated team in LFL history’ type headlines between now and August 20.

The competitive tone of this game was set early as Atlanta and Chicago played to a 13-14 game, respectively, after 10 minutes of play. It was evident early that Atlanta was set on establishing the run game with the return of Britney Demery to the line-up. Chicago’s otherwise physical defense did not have an answer for the 5’9 170 pound power back.

In the 2nd Quarter, Atlanta surprisingly took control behind a swarming defense that limited Chicago to 6 2nd Quarter points and a more balanced offense. The Steam had a 25 to 21 lead at Halftime over their rival, which led to more than a few raised eye-brows around the league. Was this going to be the night Atlanta finally breaks its losing streak against Chicago and in the process removing the massive boulder of their backs?

Chicago was not ready to make this the night Atlanta was to end its losing streak, not in front of the thousands of fans at Toyota Park that wanted to cheer their beloved Bliss into the Playoffs. A spark was ignited in the 3rd Quarter as Chicago outscored Atlanta 19 to 7. Primarily behind the resurgent play of legendary Bliss running back, ChrisDell Harris who seems to have finally regained her mojo.

Heading into the 4th Quarter, it was a 39 to 32 game and both defense anchored down. In fact, not a single point was scored in the 4th Quarter as the Chicago defense adjusted with run blitze schemes, holding Demery to little to no production. While pressuring Atlanta Quarterback Dakota Hughes nearly ever time the 3rd year signal-called dropped back. The Atlanta defense also drew a line in the sand with inspired 4th Quarter play by Cornerback Keyon Harrison. Ultimately as most expected, this battle would come down to the final drive of the game. The Chicago defense bent but did not break, holding Atlanta on a 4th down that sealed the win for the Bliss.

The questions that will be asked over the next two weeks include, would Atlanta have beat Chicago on this night with an activated Lauran Ziegler? Will the return of Ziegler and possibly Coco Montgomery tip the scales to Atlanta’s favor?

Regardless of these questions, the ultimate question, is the self-doubt and black-cloud hanging over Atlanta’s head. While tonight may have been a meaningless game, it was an opportunity for Atlanta to gain confidence knowing it can beat Chicago.

What Chicago has to guard against, is a feeling of over-confidence heading into the August 20 Eastern Conference championship. With the return of Ziegler and Montgomery, coupled with a neutral site game in Seattle, the stage could be set for a story-book ending.

Atlanta Chicago
Score 32 39
First Downs 15 9
Rushes-Yards (Net) 36-154 18-86
Passing Yards (Net) 76 137
Passes Att-Comp-Int 16-5-1 13-6-0
Total Offense Plays-Yards 52-230 31-223
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards 0-0 1-44
Interception Returns-Yards 0-0 1-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-30 3-20
Possession Time 25:32 14:28
Third-Down Conversions 2/8 1/5
Fourth-Down Conversions 2/6 0/3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 4/6 2/5