The Philadelphia Soul suffered their worst loss of the season to the Albany Empire this past Saturday, finishing the 2019 regular season. With a win, the Soul would have secured the second seed in the Arena Football League playoffs, but because of the loss, Philadelphia is now entering the postseason as the third seed. The Empire will remain the top-seeded team in the AFL playoffs after humbling a Soul team that was riding a hot streak coming into Albany. Not only is this last game of the regular season one that stopped all momentum that Philadelphia had built, but this last game rock bottom. Ending the regular season on the sourest note is not going to sit well with Clint Dolezel and his football team, who were on the wrong side of a 72-27 blowout.
Both teams did rest starters, but the drop off in performance was significant between Dan Raudabaugh and Patrick O’Brien. O’Brien would go on to throw one touchdown and three interceptions in the playing time he had against the Albany Empire. Raudabaugh threw three touchdowns and no interceptions before being benched. For the Empire, Tommy Grady and Mason Espinosa collaborated for six touchdown passes and no interceptions. The quality of play, head to head, between Espinosa and O’Brien was the deciding factor in this margin of victory.
As a rarity, the Philadelphia Soul did not get the running game going. Adrian Ferns did not take one carry in the game. The Albany Empire found paydirt with three different players on four different rushing touchdowns. Mykel Benson had two rushing touchdowns while AJ Coney and Mason Espinosa both had recorded one each.
On defense, the Albany Empire was busy. Terence Moore, Rodney Fritz, and Al Phillips all forced one fumble each while Phillips and DaVonte Lambert recorded a fumble recovery. Cheatham Norrils accounted for every one of the Empire’s interceptions against Patrick O’Brien. Along with forcing a fumble, Moore and Fritz both had a sack. The only real big defensive plays from the Philadelphia Soul were sacks from Malik Forrester and Thomas Dover.
In front of 10,981 at the Times Union Center, the Albany Empire officially routed the Philadelphia Soul. In a game where the fans had the opportunity to observe a full roster at work for both teams, the Empire looked like a complete team from the first name on the roster to the last name. The Soul have their weak spots, but no one in that building suspected they would be exploited for a loss by 45 points.
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