PHILADELPHIA, PA – The last time these two teams met, Albany rolled to a 57-48 win in week three, scoring on every one of its offensive possessions in the process.
This time around, with a playoff berth on the line, the Soul stepped up and flipped the script. Philadelphia bested the Empire by a score of 54-43 to grab a spot in the post-season.
Perhaps the most obvious MVP of the game for Philly was Darius Prince. The quick-shifting Wide Receiver tagged Albany for three touchdowns as part of a seven-catch, 91-yard afternoon.
In the postgame, Prince noted that he had been held in check. Notably, in the previous week’s game against Columbus, Prince was held to four catches for 49 yards and just a single touchdown.
“I told myself I had to be better,” Prince said, recapping his recent performances. “I was having decent games, but I wasn’t playing to the level I know I could play at, and all week I was just on myself.
“Putting in [the] extra amount of time, watching film and just came out and when the ball was in the air, I just told myself ‘you gotta catch it.'”
Prince also said that it was nice to get the win against Albany, but he felt like they should have had the first matchup as well. He also noted that the team was clicking at the right time.
“Yeah it feels good, but I honestly feel like we kind of let them get away with that one too,” Prince said. “I feel like if we’re playing our best ball…and if this is the right time where we’re peaking at, the league’s in trouble.”
An example of that chemistry came early in the third quarter. With the Empire driving, and looking to add on to their one-point halftime lead, two plays changed the course of the game and set the Soul up for victory.
The first was a sack of Albany QB Tommy Grady by Defensive Lineman Sean Daniels. That takedown by Daniels was the first sack that Albany’s offensive line had surrendered all season.
The very next play, Grady was intercepted by Torez Jones, and three snaps later, Philly had the ball in the end zone, for a lead they would not relinquish.
For Daniels, who spoke to the media for the first time this season, the sack was a testament to the strength of the team around him.
“Personally it feels good, but that wasn’t my sack,” Daniels said as he deferred credit to other members of his team. “That was the whole d-line. We’d been plugging at em that whole third quarter and our middle collapsed that middle, the back-side [Thomas] Dover collapsed that.”
“He forced Grady over to me,” Daniels continued. “All I had to do was run upfield. I was just fortunate enough to be the guy to get there. It could have been any one of us.”
When asked about how drastic the turnaround in the mood for the Soul has been since their loss to Washington in week seven, Daniels said that the team is moving forward, while taking lessons from their mid-season slump.
“It feels good, but at the same time, like you said, we got punched in the mouth,” Daniels said. “We were bleeding. That blood, that scar still hasn’t healed. We still got blood in our mouths.”
Daniels continued, “Nothing’s changed just cause we won three. We’re still playing like we lost four. We still got that blood in our mouth and we’re still very angry. And we still want to run this table and clinch a first-place playoff spot.”
Here is how the playoff picture looks heading into week 11:
With two weeks to go in the season, the Soul have clinched a berth, and do still have an outside shot at the first seed. However, they would need to win out and get some help from Columbus next week.
They are tied with Baltimore for second place at 6-4 in the standings, although the Brigade and Soul do not see each other for the rest of the season. Washington is in the final seed with a 5-5 record, but Atlantic City, sitting at 4-6, is nipping at their heels.
NEXT WEEK’S GAME: The Soul travel to historic Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall for the first-ever road matchup against the Blackjacks. Game time is 7:00 p.m.
SOUL SNIPPETS: In Saturday’s game Dan Raudabaugh was 21 of 32 for 231 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception…His Albany counterpart Grady was 19 of 33 for 255 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions…BJ Bunn continues to develop into a threat for the Soul, with seven catches against Albany for 71 yards and two touchdowns…Soul Kicker Kenny Spencer was six of seven on point after tries…The Soul converted three of six third down chances, and two of three fourth down opportunities…