The Philadelphia Soul faltered late once again, and it cost them during a 56-49 loss to the Tampa Bay Storm Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
The Soul entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 49-34 lead, but was outscored 22-0 by the Storm (6-6), which dropped the Soul to 6-6 on the season.
The fourth quarter was probably the worst of the season for the Soul offense, as the unit turned the ball over on downs twice, was forced to settle for a field goal that was missed and an incomplete pass on the final play of the game.
The Soul’s abysmal finish overshadowed a historic night for fullback Derrick Ross, who surpassed Arena Football League Hall of Famer Barry Wagner for the most rushing touchdowns in league history.
Wagner held the previous record with 127, but Ross only needed two Saturday to make history. He did just that with a one-yard score during the second quarter that gave him the record and tied the game at 21.
Ross scored another touchdown on the ground to bring his career total to 129. He carried the ball 13 times for 27 yards Saturday and even added a touchdown reception to give him a total of four on the night.
The man handing the ball off to him all night seemed a little out of rhythm Saturday, as Dan Raudabaugh completed only 30 of his 47 pass attempts. Raudabaugh’s completions did go for 353 yards and four scores, but he also threw an interception. What was more alarming was that Raudabaugh was sacked twice, which is a lot for the Soul offensive line.
Raudabaugh’s counterpart, Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard, wasn’t all that efficient with the ball either, completing only 14 of 26 passes for 217 yards and an interception, but he tossed seven touchdowns during the contest, four of which went to wide receiver Joe Hills.
Soul receivers Tiger Jones and Ryan McDaniel posted very productive outings, as they both gained more than 100 yards receiving. McDaniel caught 10 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Jones caught eight passes for 120 yards and one touchdown.
The Soul are now three games behind second place in the East Division and are barely in the hunt for the fourth and final playoff spot in the American Conference — way below the expectations of the two-time defending conference and division champions.
The team the Soul sit behind in the East Division comes into the Wells Fargo Center June 14, as the Pittsburgh Power (9-3) will look to sweep the Soul for the first time in franchise history at 6 p.m.