Storm coach Lawrence Samuels expected his team to bounce-back in a big way following a heartbreaking loss to rival Orlando last week.
The Storm never got started on Saturday night losing 71-27 to the visiting Philadelphia Soul in front of 13,921 fans at Amalie Arena. The Storm (3-5, 1-1) trailed 34-0 before scoring with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter when Julius Gregory caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jason Boltus.
“It’s disappointing the way we played, the way we came out,” Samuels said. “We weren’t mentally focused. We weren’t ready. It all falls on me. I’ll make some corrections and get it fixed. We’ve still got some time to get it fixed. It’s just disappointing the way we performed in front of our crowd…”
Gregory had another solid night catching five passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think he’s going to develop into a player,” Samuels said. “I think he showed up tonight. We’ve got to find a way to get the rest of them to show up.”
Kendrick Ings continued to shine in the return game returning a kickoff for a touchdown to start the fourth quarter. It was the first time the Storm have returned a kickoff for a touchdown this season.
The loss is the biggest margin of defeat in Storm franchise history.
The Soul (8-1) led 27-0 at halftime with turnovers haunting the Storm. Twice, Storm receivers fumbled the ball while trying to get a few extra yards and both times the Soul recovered.
It’s only the third time in franchise history that the Storm were shutout at halftime with the last time coming against Orlando in 2006.
Offensively, the Storm couldn’t get anything going in the first half and they finished with only 50 yards of offense and picked up only four first downs.
Philadelphia rushed out to a 13-0 lead after the first quarter. The Soul received the kickoff and went on a nine-play drive that ate up six minutes which was finished off with Joe Goosby rushing in the first of two touchdowns in the first quarter.
The Storm return to action next Saturday night hosting the New Orleans VooDoo at 7:30 p.m. at Amalie Arena.