Spokane started slow in the first half and nearly recovered.
The Shock started slow in the second half and never recovered.
Spokane committed two turnovers on its first three plays of the third quarter and Philadelphia took advantage, rolling to a 54-43 victory and spoiling the Shock’s home opener Saturday in front of 8,635 at the Arena.
Philadelphia (2-0) ran 22 more offensive plays than the Shock (0-2) and had an 8-minute-plus edge in time of possession.
“The defense played well, they did enough to give us opportunities to get back in the game,” head coach Andy Olson said. “The offense continued to choke up and down the field all day long.”
Spokane’s quarterback picture remains muddled. Starter Carson Coffman and backup Warren Smith are sidelined with injuries. The Shock started Jarrett Brown, who played fairly well in the first half but was picked off twice early in the third quarter.
Matt Bassuener, signed earlier this week, entered late in the third quarter and directed a couple of scoring drives but he completed just 3 of 11 passes.
“I’m going to bring another quarterback in here,” Olson said. “I’m not going to tolerate what we just went through. That’s the first thing we’re doing is challenging these guys because the quarterback play wasn’t good enough.”
That will require a quick turnaround with Spokane facing a Thursday road game against Portland.
Spokane was sloppy from the outset as Ruschard Dodd-Masters fumbled on the opening kickoff and former Shock standout Beau Bell pounced on the ball. The Soul scored four plays later and they were back in business after Spokane’s offense turned the ball over on downs.
Ryan McDaniel hauled in a Dan Raudabaugh pass and easily outran the Shock secondary to put Philadelphia on top 14-0.
Spokane fought back on Brown’s two touchdown runs, sandwiched around a Devon Dace interception.
Philadelphia scored on another McDaniel touchdown catch but the snap on the PAT got away from the holder. Spokane’s J.T. Fitzgerald scooped up the ball and raced into the end zone for two points, cutting Philly’s lead to 20-15.
The Shock took the lead, 29-27, when Brown zipped a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mike Washington. The Soul went in front 34-29 with 3 seconds remaining on Raudabaugh’s fourth touchdown pass of the half.
The Soul scored on their opening possession of the third quarter to bump their lead to 40-29. Brown’s first pass was picked off and Philadelphia needed just one play to reach the end zone on Marco Thomas’ touchdown reception.
Spokane’s defense came up an interception and a stop on downs but Philadelphia’s lead never dropped below 11 points. The crowd thinned out after Raudabaugh’s 20-yard TD pass to Xavier Boyce with 3:15 remaining.
“Both sides have to play better,” said defensive end James Ruffin, who took the blame for the Soul’s successful onside kick in the first half. “The defense made some stops. We have to make more with the quarterback changes and step up for the offense.”
Raudabaugh passed for 305 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Thomas finished with 14 catches for 146 yards.
Spokane had just 179 total yards. The two quarterbacks combined to complete 10 of 25 passes.
Olson lamented numerous miscues, including costly penalties, coverage breakdowns and turnovers.
“I expect it from someone who has never played before but for a vet who has played this game for a few years, we shouldn’t have mental breakdowns,” Olson said. “We shouldn’t be jumping offside on fourth down, we shouldn’t be fumbling the ball on opening kickoff. Those kinds of things you can’t recover from when you’re down two quarterbacks to start the game.”
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