Dan Raudabaugh and Darius Prince connected on a quick score to tie the game back up with 1:44 left in the game. In the first half, Raudabaugh had a series of inconsistencies that ended in a turnover on downs. If this chemistry existed in the first half between Prince and Raudabaugh, it would have been a touchdown that maybe steals a win in favor of the Philadelphia Soul.
However, one man that was in a groove was Arvell Nelson and he found the endzone for the seventh total time, this time on a rushing touchdown. Shaken up just before this touchdown was Philadelphia Soul defensive back, James Romain. Romain was okay and spoke with us post-game, “I felt a little bit of numbness. I hit my neck weird, felt some numbness in my arms. Kinda freaked me out, I never really felt that before. I just wish I was in there on that last play. No disrespect to Dwayne Hollis, if I’m not in the middle, I trust him. I feel like if I was there I would have made a great play on that ball.”
On the final Washington Valor drive when Arvell Nelson scored that rushing touchdown, Clint Dolezel had a particular observation about the play clock and the officiating crew. This happened when the Valor’s drive began with 1:10 left in regulation and the first rush by Nelson to begin that drive, immediately after the onside kick that was originally recovered by the Soul but overturned. Dolezel stated, “It’s pretty obvious, I don’t know what they were doing out there. A minute and ten left, there’s a thirty-five second clock, if they run at the same time, it doesn’t go down to thirty seconds. They botched it.”
Clearly, Clint Dolezel believes that with a few more seconds left in the game, they could have done more with the offensive play call. However, the final Philadelphia Soul drive ended when Dan Raudabaugh threw an interception to Jadar Johnson in double coverage, attempting to force a ball in a quick, long strike downfield to steal the win as the Valor did in the first meeting earlier this season. The final score of this game was in favor of the Washington Valor, 48-41.
This was another unfortunate loss for the Philadelphia Soul because of the fact that poor execution on routine things accumulated in this loss. The Dan Raudabaugh botched snap exchange from PK Manley, the turnover on downs, and the offensive line allowing their first sack of the season all were based on fine details but contributed to an overall losing effort.
On defense, plays were made, but equally other plays were not capitalized on. The Soul forced two fumbles that were recovered by the Washington Valor. No turnover. The Valor forced three fumbles, two of which were recovered for a forced turnover. While the Philadelphia Soul did intercept Arvell Nelson twice, Raudabaugh was included on one of those fumble recoveries by the Valor along with being intercepted at the end of the game and sacked. Washington won the turnover battle before including the turnover on downs. When the other team has more possessions than you, there is a higher probability that you gave the game away. That was the case for the week 7 performance from the Soul versus the Valor.
Jake Metz not being available for the Philadelphia Soul created a glaring hole in the defensive line. Uncharacteristically, the Soul’s defense became one dimensional without a pass rush, having to rely on the secondary mostly. Isaiah Stephens forced a fumble, but as mentioned earlier, none of the Soul’s forced fumbles were recovered for turnovers. The defensive line was largely a non-factor. “There was a pass rush? I didn’t see that. I missed that part. We got to get better. We got to go beat the bushes and find somebody that can get some pressure. Jake has been our constant all year long with pass pressure. We need to light a fire under some guys, we have the tools in there. We need to add a guy here and there and we need to get healthy. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. He had surgery and he’s going to be out for a while. It’s the next guy up,” stated Clint Dolezel.
The optimist, James Romain, after a team performance described as undisciplined and without a pass rush by Clint Dolezel, had this to say, “I wouldn’t say anything was wrong. I would say that Washington came out with a little bit different gameplan from what we studied through the week. Besides that, I just think that their guys came out a little more firey than us, they wanted to win, they wanted it a little bit more than us. We just didn’t show up tonight.” This game came down to converting opportunities and Romain is setting the attitude for the Philadelphia Soul heading back to the Wells Fargo Center to complete a three-game home stretch on Sunday against the Atlantic City Blackjacks.
This week is very important for Philadelphia Soul’s season because it dictates whether the Soul can climb back to .500 and build momentum on the road to recapture a winning record and make a playoff push. The message is simple: “Win. I don’t care how we got to do it, we have to win. By any means necessary. Scratching, crawling, punching, spitting, grabbing, eye gouging, mouth hooking, whatever we got to do to win, I’m for it. That’s what I’m waiting for. As a leader, I’m going to go out there and give it my all.” That’s the fire from James Romain.
Offensively, Dan Raudabaugh was about simplifying the offense and perfecting the basics to extend drives and put the Philadelphia Soul in a better position to win. “We need to play catch. If they’re going to play zone we need to take what they give us, we’ve been blocking pretty well, and make plays when they’re there. AC stumbled a little bit this last week too, so they’re gonna’ be hungry. We need to come out with our hair on fire, for real, to send a message to ourselves this week at practice,” said Raudabaugh. He captured the same fire that James Romain is bringing to the table. However, those words don’t compare to how one look will make you feel.
“We know the look. He just came in and looked at us and we know that look. Go win. He’s frustrated, coach’s frustrated, I’m frustrated, fan’s frustrated, I know you guys are frustrated asking these questions and stuff like that. This should be a wake-up call. I haven’t started three and four here ever and we’re swallowing a tough pill right now. I’ve gotta police myself to get the other guys right. Obviously, my leadership skills ain’t getting the young guys ready, so I gotta’ switch up something. AC’s got something coming from me.”
That was James Romain describing a silent visit to the team from Ron Jaworski following the home loss to the Washington Valor. Romain is connected to his team, coaches, owners, fans, and press. Being in the same room as that post-game press conference with Romain, he is going to be a man on a mission on Sunday.
When the Atlantic City Blackjacks come to visit a Philadelphia Soul team that is playing with everything to gain and nothing to lose, watch out. That whole locker room feels like Dan Raudabaugh, James Romain, Clint Dolezel, and the look that Ron Jaworski provides. Bring that energy to the table on Sunday and the Blackjacks are going to have to bring an army.