One week after being on the losing side of the biggest lopsided victory in LFL history, 79-0, the rookie-filled Omaha Heart squad had to take the field again. Heading into Chicago to play the 2x defending Legends Cup Champion Chicago Bliss would be another huge test for Coach Dontae Allen and his Omaha Heart.
With Chicago figuring to have their way if they performed as expected, some players were prepared to party. Quarterback Heather ‘Rockstar’ Furr even had the booze flowing before kickoff when she was seen grabbing a beer from a fan during player introductions. Despite the early fun for the Bliss, they performed to perfection which allowed the game MVP, Alli Alberts to take the party to the next level as she snagged a beer and chugged it midfield in front of the hometown fans at Toyota Park.
This season, the Chicago Bliss host their games at beautiful, outdoor Toyota Park, where they haven’t played since 2012. As baseball fans know, the element is unexpected for outdoor April games in windy Chicago, as mid-western weather could bring snow or temperatures in the 70’s in April. The Saturday night forecast was not favorable for most of the athletes as rain and temperatures in mid-to-low 40’s, were expected, though many would argue that is great football weather.
Most analysts predicted that this game, against the inexperienced Heart, would be a great opportunity for Chicago quarterback Heather Furr to work on her passing game, as her throwing abilities have been criticized around the league. Furr did just that on the first play from scrimmage as the Bliss ran play action and she found Alli Alberts deep for a 27 yard completion. The pass was short and ugly but Alberts reached around one defender and came up with the reception between two Omaha Heart players as she fell to the ground. Great receivers can assist poor passing in any league.
On next play from the 12 yard line, the Bliss scored as ChrisDell ‘Ferrari’ Harris took an option pitch from Furr and scampered to the endzone nearly untouched. The Bliss failed the extra-point attempt on an incomplete Furr pass. That was the start of Chicago’s balanced attack in the first-half. After an Omaha Heart turnover on downs, Chicago scored the next play with an 18 yard run by Deena Fagiano as she was untouched following her blocks by Alberts and Nneka Nwani. The Nwani extra-point run put the score at 13-0 with 6:06 remaining in the first quarter.
The Omaha Heart and quarterback Ashley Amick put together a good drive of eight plays as they drove to the Chicago 16 yard-line before coming up short on a long fourth down run by Amick. The drive helped Omaha with time-of-possession lasting four and a half minutes as Chicago took over with 1:32 remaining in the first.
The next defensive series for Omaha resembled the stout Heart defense from past seasons as they forced Chicago to turn the ball over on downs at Chicago’s own 16 yard line. Chicago quickly took the ball back again after a four and out by Omaha, and the next play from their own 21 yard line, Furr completed a 29 yard TD pass to a wide-open Alberts as she reached the endzone. Chicago went for two on the extra-point and a Nwani run put the score at 21-0.
The next series for the Heart, Ashley Amick showcased her great arm-strength as she found Jenna Holt down field for a 33 yard pass completion. Sitting first and goal from the 6 yard line, many expected Omaha to score their first points of the season. However, false-start penalties and miscommunication caused Omaha to turn the ball over on downs just after the two-minute warning.
Heather Furr and the Chicago Bliss were able to work on their two-minute offense as they drove down the field, dissecting the Omaha defense. After a penalty, the Bliss had first and goal from the 17 yard-line as Furr connected with Chabria Survillion on a short pass, which Survillion was able to shed five tackles as a tired Omaha defense failed to stop her from finding the endzone. The 29-0 halftime lead for Chicago was no surprise as the Omaha Heart were expected to have almost no chance in Saturday night’s game.
Despite the lopsided halftime score, it was clear that Omaha had improved offensively and defensively from a week ago. The Heart were making far less mistakes compared to the week prior and offensively they were able to sustain a few drives.
Both fans and players were glad to see the rain subside during the game thus far and it was evident fans were enjoying the atmosphere as almost every person at Toyota Park was on their feet.
The third quarter was interesting as Omaha controlled the time of possession but never managed to find the end-zone. While Chicago only ran six plays in the third quarter, they were able to put up 13 points on a Javell Thompson rushing TD and Dominique Collins fumble return for the score, putting the score at 42-0 at the end of the third quarter.
Omaha had another scoreless quarter in the fourth, as they never found the endzone in their second straight game of the season. This wasn’t a shock to many as the Heart play in the Eastern Conference with both 2014 defending Legends Cup finalists and field a squad of nearly all rookies.
A fourth quarter Ashley Amick interception by defender Heather Furr provided an argument for a Furr MVP night as she had a great performance on both sides of the ball. Alberts big plays offensively and defensively, along with her blocking helped Alberts steal the game MVP nomination.
Javell Thompson again found the end-zone in the fourth quarter to finish the scoring for the night, putting the final score to 49-0. Chicago came out and did everything they needed to secure the win and work on their balanced attack offensively.
After a clean battle with very little fighting or banter between the two teams, it is clear that Omaha vs Chicago will not be the big rivalry anytime soon, that consists between Chicago and Atlanta, but one might say that Omaha vs Atlanta will certainly turn into a heated-rivalry as there was a lot of high emotions, fighting, and trash-talking that took place in their match-up.
The passing game for Chicago was the story of the night as Heather Furr finished 8 for 9 passing with 130 yards and 2 TD’s, as the “Rockstar” spread the ball out to Alberts, Survillion, and Harris each three times. Heather’s passing game has been on the receiving end of many critics in the LFL as the Bliss rely on the rushing game to win games.
No surprise tonight as the Chicago Bliss shut out the Omaha Heart by a score of 49-0. Chicago will have the next weekend off as they prepare for their next game when the back-to-back Legends Cup Champion Chicago Bliss, return May 10th to Toyota Park against rival Atlanta Steam in an historic, first-ever LFL Sunday 1pm kickoff under the sun.
After week 3 the Eastern Conference stands at Chicago 2-0, Atlanta 1-1, and Omaha 0-2. Week 4 features a re-match in Atlanta as the Heart head to The Factory (Arena at Gwinnett Center) Saturday, May 2nd to redeem themselves from the loss in Week 2 against the Steam.
– Text by Colton Cull, originally posted on LFL360.com