PHILADELPHIA, PA – After losing to the Washington Valor for the second time this season, the Philadelphia Soul are sitting in a position no one expected them to be in at this point in the year.
Their 48-41 loss to the Valor was the team’s fourth loss in five games and in a crowded playoff field, dropped them down into a tie with Atlantic City for the fourth and final playoff spot at 3-4.
By virtue of their 34-27 win over Atlantic City in the season opener, the Soul are hanging on in a perilous position. And everyone on the team knows it.
Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh was a pedestrian 21 of 42 during the game, good for a 50 percent completion percentage. However, those numbers do not tell the whole story.
At the half, Raudabaugh was 7 of 18 for an insufficient 38 percent completion rate. Even his improved performance in the second half was not enough, and speaking with assembled media in the postgame presser, he said the team’s effort was not sufficient.
“We left some points out there, uncharacteristic stuff,” Raudabaugh said. “Freaking fumbled snap going into [a Valor] score. We can’t have that. A lot of these wounds are self-inflicted, so we gotta look at ourselves in the mirror and figure out what it is and get it right.”
At the end of the day, Raudabaugh said that the team just needs to keep clawing and get back into position.
“Like I said, this is all about self-reflection and what we can do to get better,” Raudabaugh added. “The feeling is they didn’t really beat us. We gotta get out of our own way a bit, put the shovel down and stop digging.”
Elsewhere on the offensive side of the ball, Soul Wide Receiver Darius Prince led the receiving corps with two touchdowns and 100 yards of offense. But Prince also said he did not play up to his standards.
“Just a shoulder injury, but I’m not gonna blame it on that,” Prince said. “I’ve still gotta focus in. I take [the] majority of this loss. I put it on me. That’s just who I am as a player. I make those plays 10 times out of 10.”
He also said that he hoped the game would at least serve as a wake-up call for the team.
“I hope so,” Prince added. “I mean, after losing three in a row and then coming out last week and playing…[an] 0-6 team and getting a victory off of them and then coming back out today and not playing our best ball. I hope it’s a wakeup call.
“We need it. We need it bad. Everybody in the locker room gotta check theyself [sic]. You gotta be able…to look yourself in the mirror and pull your own card sometimes. And that’s what we gotta do. If guys can do that then we’ll come out against AC next week with a victory.”
On the coaching side, Soul Head Coach Clint Dolezel said that from his point of view, the team’s timing was off all night.
“Our veterans, Dan [Raudabaugh] and [Darius] Prince were a little off tonight, to say the least,” Dolezel said. “Dropped balls, missed throws…you can only practice so much, it’s gotta happen in the games and right now it’s not.”
Dolezel also said that the defense did not do a good enough job pressuring Valor Quarterback Arvell Nelson, as long-time Soul defensive cog Jake Metz is down with an injury.
“There was a pass rush? I didn’t see that.” Dolezel said. “We’ve gotta get better. We’ve gotta go beat the bushes and find somebody that can get some pressure. Jake [Metz] has been our constant all year long with pass pressure, so we need to light a fire under some guys.”
One positive from Dolezel was the play of Soul kicker Kenny Spencer. After last week’s kicking performance, where Spencer missed two PATs, Dolezel said he had sat Spencer down in his office and informed him his job was on the line in this week’s contest.
Spencer responded, hitting all five of his PAT tries in the Valor game. “Maybe I can talk to some other guys like that too,” Dolezel said.
At the end of the day for the Soul, it now boils down to every one of the last five games being a must-win game. For Soul DB James Romain, that means one thing.
“Win,” Romain said. “Win. I don’t care how we got to do it, we have to win. By any means necessary…Whatever we’ve gotta do to win, I’m for it. That’s what I’m waiting for.”
Philadelphia closes out the three-game home stand next Sunday, with a 4:00 p.m. Father’s Day start against the Blackjacks.
Soul Snippets: The Soul held on to the ball for 34:43 of game time, almost ten minutes more than the Valor’s 25:17…The Soul had three fumbles in the game, losing two…In late down situations, the Soul were five of eight on third down and one of three on fourth down…Philadelphia was five for six in the red zone.