TAMPA, FL – Some nights, it’s just evident who the better team is. That was the case on Saturday night when the Philadelphia Soul (8-1) hammered the Tampa Bay Storm (3-5) by a score of 71-27 in front of 13,921 at Amalie Arena.
“It’s disappointing,” said Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels. “We weren’t mentally focused, we weren’t ready and it all falls on me.”
The Storm came out looking for a hot start just a week after blowing a 20-point lead in Orlando but instead, they got exactly the opposite. They were shut out in the first half for the first time since 2006 and the third time in team history. Philadelphia linebacker Joe Goosby scored the team’s first three touchdowns on one-yard runs before Dan Raudabaugh hit Ryan McDaniel from 13 yards out to put the Soul up 27-0 at halftime.
The sloppy start left a feeling that the team was still affected by their collapse last week.
“No excuse for our guys, [but] it was a hangover,” said Samuels. “I thought that they were a little bit dejected from the outcome of the game, and it carried over into this week.”
Things got worse for Tampa Bay in the second half when Goosby scored again, this time returning an interception six yards for a touchdown to extend the Soul lead to 34-0. A 15-yard touchdown from Jason Boltus to Julius Gregory got the crowd going again, but the momentum was short-lived. Goosby added to his big night by blocking the extra point attempt and returning it for two points.
Gregory was the bright spot for Tampa Bay on the night, catching five passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
“At least he showed up tonight,” said Samuels. “Other than that, we’ve just got to find a way to get the rest of them to show up.”
It was a game to forget for Boltus, who completed just 12 of 30 passes for 133 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Both of his interceptions came in the second half and were returned for touchdowns.
The 44-point loss for the Storm is the worst in franchise history, breaking the previous largest margin of defeat (40) set in 2011 against Cleveland.
The Storm will look to rebound next week at home against the New Orleans VooDoo (2-7), a team they defeated 42-13 back in April.