Atlanta Steam quarterback Brittany Morgan hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass from receiver and No.2 QB Jodie Nettles, as well as carrying the rock in from the 3 for her second TD of the game, in the Steam 28-20 loss to the Philadelphia Passion in the Legends Football League Eastern Conference Divisional Game on Saturday night at the Sears Centre Arena in Chicago.
The Steam never led in the game, despite having two possessions before the Passion grabbed the lead late in the first-quarter when Marirose Roach scored on a 27-yard run that put Philly up 7-0 after the PAT was good. Atlanta’s first two possessions resulted in a four-play stop on downs, and then Morgan lost the ball after taking a hard hit and Heather Roy recovered the loose ball at the Passion 15 to end the Steam second drive.
Atlanta showed the heart that helped earn them the Southeastern Division Championship as they would fight back from deficits of 7-0, 14-7, and 28-13 to find themselves down by what would turnout being the final score, 28-20, with 7:53 remaining in the final quarter.
The Steam used seven rushing plays and a Passion holding penalty to move the ball from their own 15-yard line to the Passion 19 with just under three minutes to go in the game, but the third lost fumble of the night, second by Krista Cross, ended the threat and the Steam D was unable to get the ball back and Philly ran out the final 2:52 to bring the inaugural Steam season to an end.
The Steam offense debuted their Wing-T scheme in the loss and, while Morgan scored two of the three touchdowns, it was a complete team effort. Morgan (7 carries for 40 yards, one TD), Sweetness Jones (10 carries for 30 yards, one TD), and Cross (8 carries for 25 yards) all had substantial touches, while Cross (2 receptions for 20 yards), Coco Montgomery (1 R, 28 yards), Morgan (1 R, 18 yards, TD), and Jones (1 R, 7 yards) each had catches.
Montgomery and Sharp Diamond each had 4.0 tackles top lead the defense. Montgomery had 4.0 unassisted tackles, including a sack, while Sharp made three unassisted stops and had one assist.
Examiner Player of the Game: Marirose Roach
Great players step up in big games, and Marirose Roach did just that in leading the Passion to victory. Roach racked up 131 yards rushing on 15 carries, averaged 8.4 yards per attempt, and scored three TD’s. As if her offensive effort wasn’t enough, Roach also contributed on defense (2.5 tackles/2 UA, 1 A).
For the Steam and their fans, while disappointed with the outcome of Saturday’s game, the future looks bright. Atlanta (2-2-1) not only accomplished the majority of their pre-season goals, including winning the division title but, under the guidance of rookie Head Coach Ray Norell and his dedicated staff, also built a foundation that will lead to a winning tradition for years to come in the LFL.
The Steam play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.