Given the opportunity for a rematch with the team that handed them their worst lost in franchise history, the Tampa Bay Storm entered tonight’s match with one thing on their mind: redemption.
Although the Storm would not get the ultimate redemption they were seeking as they fell 64-42 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the team was able to show that they’re much improved from a month ago.
Tampa Bay dominated the first half, opening the scoring on a 34-yard touchdown pass from QB Jason Boltus to WR Phillip Barnett. Philadelphia’s following drive appeared to be stopped by the Storm defense on 4th and 10, but a penalty for illegal formation gave the Soul new life and would eventually lead to a tied game.
The visiting team would put up back-to-back scoring drives to give them a considerable 21-7 advantage, but that lead would be cut into before the end of the half. Still, the Storm defense can be credited with maintaining a seven-point lead going into halftime, holding the Soul to a failed field goal attempt in the final seconds of the second quarter.
With the exception of T.T. Toliver, no Storm receiver had more than one reception during the first half; however, each of those receptions was for a touchdown. Despite the lead, it was evident that Tampa Bay’s offense was struggling, as Jason Boltus was just 5-for-14 during the first half.
He would finish the game completing 12-of-29 passes for 214 yards and five touchdowns, his favorite target being WR Kendrick Ings, who caught four passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
The Storm’s difficulty in stopping the home team during the third quarter carried over from last week. The Soul strung together three unanswered scoring drives to take their first lead of the night, 30-28, near the midway point of the quarter. Philadelphia would maintain that lead for the rest of the night, with Tampa Bay only getting as close as an eight-point deficit from that point on.
Defense was a critical issue, as the unit failed to carry over momentum from the first half into the rest of the game. After holding the Soul to just two touchdowns through 30 minutes, Tampa Bay conceded 50 points in the final two quarters. Philadelphia’s offense was unrelenting, as QB Dan Raudabaugh completed 22-of-38 passes for 268 yards and seven touchdowns. WR Marco Thomas led all receivers with 10 receptions for 116 yards and three touchdowns.
Tampa Bay will now be on a league-wide bye week before returning home on Saturday, July 11th to take on the Orlando Predators in a critical South Division matchup. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.