Tampa Bay Sports Day

AFL: Tampa Bay Storm Searches for First Win in Philly

The Tampa Bay Storm (0-4, 0-2) will head to Philadelphia to take on the Soul (4-1, 0-1) tonight at Wells Fargo Center at 8 p.m. The Storm willlook to earn its first victory of the 2016 season.

This will be the 15th time these two teams have met and the eighth in Philadelphia. The Soul leads the series with a record of 9-5 and holds a commanding record of 6-1 when facing the Storm at home. Last season,
the Storm lost both matchups versus the Soul.

Last week, the Storm suffered another heartbreaking loss to the Sharks. While the loss put the team at 0-4, there were several positives to take away from the performance. The night saw quarterback Jonathan Bane make the first start of his AFL career. He finished the night having completed 21-of-38 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns.

Bane also did an excellent job of protecting the football, throwing zero interceptions. The key to Bane’s success was not only his ability to extend plays, but also the protection from the offensive line. Protection has been better allaround this season, with the offensive line allowing just four sacks over thefirst four games.

The Storm allowed 10 sacks through the first four games last season. This is not an easy feat, considering the Storm has seen limited consistency on the offensive line,with seven different linemen seeing the field over the course of the four game period.

This week, the Storm offensive line will need to be on its toes all game. The team will face one of the best defensive lines this season. Through five games, the Soul has recorded eight sacks. Veteran defensive lineman Teddy Jennings leads the team with three sacks on the season.

The Storm will also face its former nose guard, Richard Clebert. Clebert has played in just two games, but has made an impact on the field, tallying his first sack of the season versus the Cleveland Gladiators in week four.

The key to success will be the need for the offense to execute with perfection. The past few games, the team has been just a play away. A missed pass here and a broken route there means the difference between a
win and loss.

With perfect execution, the offense should have no problem scoring. Over the first few weeks, the team has added depth at the wide receiver position, slowly accumulating some of the top receivers in the AFL.

The team’s latest addition, Mike Washington, made an immediate impact with a 58-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown on the opening play of the game. Newcomer Xavier Boyce also made a play, catching a pass
for 13 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Storm will look to apply the pressure on Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh. This will be no easy task as the Soul has the best offensive line in the league which has allowed no sacks through five games.

While the Storm has not had a sack, the team has thrived at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, forcing them off their marks. This allows the defensive backs to make plays in the defensive backfield. The team has quietly put together one of the top defenses in the AFL, holding the Sharks to just 33 points.