TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Storm (2-14, 0-0) heads to Allentown, PA to take on the Philadelphia Soul (13-3, 0-0) this Sunday, August 7 at the PPL Center. The No. 4 seeded Storm will look to upset the regular season American Conference Champion Soul in the teams’ first meeting in postseason history. Fans will be able to catch all of the action as Darek Sharp and Ian Beckles make the call for 1250 AM WHNZ. The game can also be streamed on the Lightning Power Play through the iHeartRadio app and ESPN3. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. ET.
This will be the 17th meeting between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, and the ninth time the Soul has hosted the Storm. Philadelphia holds a four-game win streak over Tampa Bay, dating back to May 22, 2015. While the Storm has an overall losing record of 5-11 when facing the Soul, the teams have not met in the postseason. In this series, the Storm has not won on the road since April 15, 2011.
This weekend’s game will be an interesting matchup between one of the best teams in the League (Philadelphia) versus a team that spent the entire season struggling to find an identity (Tampa Bay). However, when the postseason rolls around, all regular season records can be thrown out the window. History has shown that it does not matter the seed, the Storm can prevail. This was evidenced in 2002 when Tampa Bay became the first No. 12 seeded team to win an AFL postseason game; the lowest seed to ever win a postseason game.
The Storm also holds a 23-17 overall record in the playoffs. While the team has a winning record, it is just 7-11 when away from home. The Soul has an overall playoff record of 10-6, with a home record of 7-1.
Both teams have some familiarity with each other, meeting twice this past season and most recently on July 23. The Soul defeated the Storm by a score of 56-51 and while the team was defeated, it did give the Storm some confidence heading into the postseason. The Storm cannot rest on its laurels though. Tampa Bay must go into the game knowing that it’s “win or go home.”
Offensively, the Storm has the keys to succeed. With receivers named T.T. Toliver, Kendrick Ings and Prechae Rodriguez, the Storm has the weapons to score. Toliver put together one of the best seasons of his 13-year career, reeling in 114 passes for 1,578 yards and 25 touchdowns. The 39-year old’s numbers rival that of some players 10 years younger. The team also has a star in Kendrick Ings who has made a name for himself in the return game. In five games played, he’s averaged 116.4 kickoff return yards per game. For his career he has 10 games where he’s had 100+ kickoff return yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Storm will have to play a perfect game. The Storm’s front line must apply pressure to Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh making him uncomfortable and forcing him off his marks. This will enable the defensive backfield to put in work and force turnovers. Last time out the Storm defense forced two turnovers in an interception and a fumble recovery. Look for them to improve on this performance.
With everything riding on Sunday night, look for the Storm to come out fast, leaving it all out on the field. The team has taken a “Why not us?” mindset. With both records reset to 0-0, it’s anybody’s ballgame.