Empire Go Into Bye Week with Loss & Missed Opportunity
The top overall seed in the Arena Football League playoffs has felt like something of a formality in the last couple of weeks, if not longer. The Albany Empire entered the weekend with an 8-1 record and a three-game cushion in the standings, but Saturday's game at Philadelphia was an opportunity to remove any speculation or doubt.
Albany beat the Soul on the road in week 3 and a repeat result would clinch the best regular season record and top spot in the postseason. A win would also send the Empire into their bye week on a high note and things were going according to plan as the teams went to the locker room at halftime. Albany held a 21-20 lead, but the tide turned quickly in the third quarter.
The Soul scored back to back touchdowns to start the second half and the Empire never quite recovered. Philadelphia's defense was also a major factor in the second half as the defensive line disrupted the passing game, sacking Tommy Grady who also threw an interception.
Albany trailed by as many as 19 points in the 54-43 loss. The Empire's record drops to 8-2 and it's now a two-game lead in the standings as they head for a bye.