Mistake-prone Power suffer lopsided loss at home to Soul
Although the final score may not suggest as much, the crowd at Consol Energy Center did have something to cheer Saturday night during the Power's 59-21 loss to the Philadelphia Soul.
People hooted and hollered when a pass intended for Soul wide receiver Ryan McDaniel was broken up near the end zone and fell to the turf incomplete. The only problem: The defender was a fan seated in the first row.
Officials did not call fan interference, perhaps because it was one of the best defensive plays of the game. The Power players who are paid to make similar stops allowed the Soul to score eight touchdowns, including four in a row in the third quarter.
The 38-point loss was the worst at home in the Power's three-year existence.
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 18 of 27 passes for 211 yards and seven touchdowns. The Soul's 240-pound fullback, Derrick Ross, scored three times, including a 14-yard reception in which he hurdled Power defensive back Sergio Gilliam on his way to the end zone.
Overall, the Power committed seven turnovers — four interceptions, three fumbles and including two net recoveries by the Soul on kickoffs.
“I think sometimes we make it harder than it is,” veteran wide receiver Mike Washington said. “It's arena football. It's easy. All we got to do is make our reads and get the ball out.”
The losses are starting to accumulate for the Power, who are 8-22 over the past two seasons after an encouraging 9-9 record in 2011, their first year in the Arena Football League.
Washington, who has been with the team in each of its three seasons, is starting to feel the frustration. He has worked with 12 different quarterbacks and four play-callers in that time.
“I try not to think about the last two years,” he said. “Quarterbacks, kickers, a different person calling plays. At a point, enough is enough. I try to keep level head and (help) the players keep a level head.”
But the night belonged to the Soul (7-5), who increased their lead in the American Conference East to four games over the Power (3-9) before an announced crowd of 6,059. The Soul have won four of their past five games. The Power, steadily falling out of the race for a wild-card playoff berth, have lost three in a row and four of their past five.
Against the Soul, the Power failed in all phases of the game, falling behind, 31-7, at halftime and never threatening the lead. They were scoreless in the first and fourth quarters.
They committed a variety of mistakes, including two interceptions by quarterback Derek Cassidy, who started his second consecutive game in place of Steve Sheffield, whose father died last week.
After the second theft, Cassidy was yanked from the game by coach Derek Stingley and replaced by Shane Austin, who threw two touchdown passes to Julian Talley, one to Washington and two interceptions. Austin completed 18 of 30 passes for 269 yards after Cassidy was 2 of 8 for 12.
“It's tough when you are in a hole trying to dig your way out,” Austin said. “A lot of times you have to fight through adversity. There are a lot of plays I, personally, left out on the field that I would like to have back.”