With each passing game, the high-flying passing attack of the D.C. Divas reaches heights never before seen in the team’s 19-year history. But Saturday may have been their finest performance yet.
Amanda Congialdi tied the franchise record with seven passing touchdowns and broke her own franchise mark with 489 passing yards, and the D.C. Divas turned back a tough Columbus Comets team in a penalty-marred game, 58-28. D’Ajah Scott also shined with four touchdowns, three of them spanning 50 yards or more.
The Divas (4-1) received the opening kickoff and immediately drove for a touchdown. A 30-yard catch down the sideline by Kentrina Wilson followed by a 22-yard dash by D’Ajah Scott set up Scott’s three-yard touchdown run. The Divas’ only rushing touchdown of the contest gave them an early 6-0 lead.
Nichelle Blake came through with a big tackle for loss on the Comets’ first drive, helping force a three and out. Columbus dropped back to punt, and after initially missing the punt on a high bounce, Scott fielded the kick and zoomed for a 71-yard punt return touchdown. Less than six minutes into the game, the Divas took a 12-6 advantage.
As the first quarter came to a close, the Divas offense went on a long drive that showcased the versatility of their passing attack. Congialdi completed passes to five different receivers on this drive alone: Dana Blakey, Remy Olinzock, Kasee Hilliard, Curtina Pope, and finally, a six-yard touchdown pass to Wilson. Early in the second quarter, the Divas were back in front by two scores, 18-6.
Midway through the second quarter, the Comets were now in prime position to tie or even take the lead on the Divas. But the D.C. defense rose up and forced a four and out on an incomplete Columbus pass at the Divas’ 24-yard line. On the very next play, Congialdi swung a short pass to Scott, who cut between two defenders and outraced the entire Columbus defense for a 76-yard touchdown catch. Scott’s third score of the game gave the Divas a needed cushion on the scoreboard at 24-12.
A 29-yard pass to Shaquanda Gainey got the Divas back into scoring position. D’Ajah Scott caught a swing pass and juked several defenders for an apparent 24-yard touchdown, but her bid for a fourth score in the contest was wiped out by a dubious holding call. No matter: the Divas went right back to a wide-open Gainey, who snared a 25-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left in the half to give the Divas a 36-12 advantage at intermission.
D’Ajah Scott caught a 17-yard pass to get the Divas out of the shadow of their own goalposts, but the Divas were called for holding on the next play to bring up first and 20. Even the Divas’ potent offense was unable to dig out of that hole, and they were forced to punt for the only time in the contest.
Amanda Congialdi finished the contest with 489 passing yards, breaking the record of 474 she set earlier this year against the Tampa Bay Inferno. Her seven touchdown passes tied the franchise record for passing touchdowns in a single game set by Allyson Hamlin against the Boston Militia on May 18, 2013. Congialdi also finished the game with a perfect NFL passer rating of 158.3 after completing 28 of 36 passes for 489 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions.
At that point, the D.C. defense forced the Comets into two incomplete passes to turn them over on downs and mercifully end the game, as the D.C. Divas ran out the clock on a 58-28 victory over the Columbus Comets. With their regular season home schedule complete, the Divas go on the road for their final three games of the 2019 regular season, beginning this Saturday in Richmond against the Black Widows.