PHILADELPHIA – With his team clinging to a two-point lead in the final minute, Jacksonville Sharks’ defensive back Terrance Smith knocked away a would-be game-tying pass, then recovered an onside kick to seal the Sharks’ 55-53 win over the Philadelphia Soul at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.
Jacksonville (6-0) held a 55-47 lead with under a minute left, before Philadelphia (2-3) fullback Derrick Ross shook off several defenders to bring his team within two with a short rushing touchdown on fourth and goal with 18 seconds left. After a delay of game penalty moved Philadelphia back, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh looked for Larry Brackins in the corner of the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt. Smith stayed with the six-foot-five Brackins and tipped the pass away, keeping the Sharks in front. On the next play, Smith tracked down Carlos Martinez’ onside kick attempt, allowing the Sharks to retain possession and run out the clock. With the win, the Sharks remained perfect in 2013, extending what has become by far the team’s best start to a season in franchise history.
The dramatic finish ended what was actually a two-score game for much of the second half. On the possession before Ross’ late touchdown, Jacksonville had the ball with a chance to seal the game, but the Soul defense held and forced a field goal attempt. Marco Capozzoli’s kick missed wide right, and Philadelphia returner Rayshaun Kizer returned the free ball past midfield to give the Soul another chance.
Jacksonville led almost wire-to-wire, taking the lead for good after Philadelphia scored the game’s first touchdown. Morris tied a career high with eight touchdown passes, connecting on 17 of his 26 passes for 219 yards and eight touchdowns. Jeron Harvey scored a touchdown on each of his five catches, setting a new career high with those five touchdown grabs. At one point in the second half, Harvey caught a touchdown pass on four consecutive Jacksonville possessions.