Renegades 42-game win streak halted by St. Louis

Image courtesy of Boston Renegades 

It had to end sometime.

The Boston Renegades – the winningest pro football women’s team in history – had its 42-game winning streak snapped in St. Louis this past weekend in what turned out to be a shootout, 36-27.

Dating back to the 2019 season opener, the Renegades had dominated every opponent en route to five straight Women’s Football Alliance titles. But, now in a transition phase with the departure of QB Allison Cahill and the retirement of steady-as-a-rock offensive lineman Amanda Alpert, it seems as if opponents know there’s no better time than now to pounce.

Boston (2-1) trailed 14-7 after one, 22-14 at the half and 29-20 heading to the fourth in a rare occurrence of regularly having to play from behind. Stephanie Pascual punched in a three yard TD run in the final frame to cut it to 29-27 after a Maggie Barden PAT, but a late St. Louis touchdown ended any hopes of a comeback.

Megan McFadden went 19-29 for 172 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Ruth Matta had a big day on the ground, carrying the ball 21 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Kyshani Dummott hauled in six passes for 91 yards and a touchdown as well for the Renegades.

“Nothing’s changed for us, really,” head coach John Johnson said in an interview on Tuesday. “There were some good lessons to learn about all the things that we preach. We didn’t follow through with the things we hold ourselves accountable to, which is the standard. So, we fell short of the standard in quite a few areas. We’ve just got to pick it up, correct the correctables and move forward.

“We’re focused on getting ourselves better, which we have to and then focus on our next opponent, which is New York.”

If anything the loss will fuel the organization more, which is why the atmosphere at practice on Tuesday night was a good one and included a nearly two-hour team film session, something that doesn’t always happen just given the nature and stricture of the league.

“It’s funny, back in 2018 when we had our last couple of losses, there were some real big lessons that happened,” Johnson said. “These are great opportunities to kind of talk about those things, reinforce those things that they have to do to get better. We have to ID what the problems are. Whether it’s an emotional thing, a physical thing or whether it’s just a football intelligence thing and then correct those with how you practice, how you watch film and more importantly how the team does things together.

“I thought it was a good time to get together as a team and talk about what we need to do to get better from that standpoint. Talk about who we are, where we are and what we’ve got to do to achieve our goal and then break out and have our smaller sessions with offense, defense and special teams working on things and looking at things for what they are and what they’ve got to do to get better. That’s all of us. From the coaches on down, we have to coach it better, players have to play it better and we’ve got to practice it better.”

Until the Renegades aren’t holding a trophy later on this summer, they’re still the most dominant team in professional women’s football. But, does Johnson think about other teams in the league now not  fearing them like they used to?

“I don’t. I think about what we have to do to achieve our goal,” he added. “What the outside world’s opinion is, it’s their opinion and they have the right to have it. My job is to get this team ready to win their next game and that’s what I’m focused on. That’s what the players will focus on and that’s what the coaches are focused on.

“We’re trying to get better each and every day and focus on the things we can control and see where it ends at the end.”