June 15, 2017 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Portland Steel
The Search for 77 - Two more games. That's all Joe Hills needs to catch Damian Harrell for the most consecutive games with a Titanic Showdown - The Philadelphia Soul and Tampa Bay Storm are 8-0 and 7-1 respectively heading into their Week 11 showdown at the Wells Fargo Center. They're on winning streaks of 12-games and 6-games respectively. It's the first time that two teams have collided with matching winning streaks of at least six games since Arizona and Orlando squared off last year on 6-game and 10-game winning streaks respectively. Both of those streaks though, dated back to the end of the regular season in 2015. The last time two teams played against each other on 6+ game winning streaks in one season was in 2012. The Soul were a part of that matchup as well, as they beat the Utah Blaze on the final week of the regular season. Philadelphia had won seven in a row, while Utah had won six in a row.
Nine Lives - The Soul are one of the nine teams in AFL history to start a season at 8-0. Should they beat Tampa Bay in Week 11, they'll be the eighth to get to 9-0. Philadelphia's best start to a season in franchise history came in 2008 when the club won its first nine games. The Soul went on to win their first ArenaBowl in team history.
Sweet 16? - Winning the turnover battle is generally the key to victory in the AFL. The Soul have done that better than anyone else this season, forcing 18 turnovers while coughing it up just seven times. They now have 15 consecutive games with at least one forced turnover, the longest such streak in the AFL. This week though, they have a Tampa Bay team on tap which has turned it over just eight times in eight games, one short of league-leading Philadelphia.
Benson Nearing Rushing History - The last time the Storm and Soul hooked up in Week 2, it was a banner day for Mykel Benson. He carried the ball 17 times - the fourth most in a single game in AFL history - and had two touchdowns. Benson needs two rushing touchdowns to become the fifth man to ever run for 100 scores in AFL history. In short order, he'll inevitably surpass Odie Armstrong and Andre Bowden for the third most rushing touchdowns ever. Benson is also 17 rushing yards shy from cracking into the top 5 all-time in that category.
Most Rushing Touchdowns in AFL History
Derrick Ross: 195
Barry Wagner: 127
Andre Bowden: 103
Odie Armstrong: 101
Mykel Benson: 98
Most Rushing Yards in AFL History
Derrick Ross: 3,245
Bernard Morris: 1,705
Bo Kelly: 1,571
Bob McMillen: 1,514
Odie Armstrong: 1,438
Mykel Benson: 1,421
Receivers Gotta Have Soul - Part of what makes the trio of Philadelphia receivers so great is the fact that Dan Raudabaugh really spreads the ball around to each of his men. Thus, it shouldn't be all that surprising that all three are reaching career milestones in receptions at basically the same time. Shaun Kauleinamoku is sitting on 489 career receptions and needs 11 to become the sixth active player in the AFL to have 500 or more catches. Ryan McDaniel (390) and Darius Reynolds (385) are both without reach of 400 in the next game or two as well.
Feelin' 300 - Last week, Randy Hippeard jumped into 26th place all-time in passing touchdowns in AFL history. This week, he can join the rare list of quarterbacks who have thrown for 300 career scores. Hippeard enters this week with 294 career TDs, six shy of the 300 milestone and nine short of Mike Pawlawski for 25th most in AFL history.
Most Career Passing Touchdowns in AFL History
24: Erik Meyer: 312
25: Mike Pawlawski: 303
26: Randy Hippeard: 294
27: Joe Germaine: 290
The Search for 77 - Two more games. That's all Joe Hills needs to catch Damian Harrell for the most consecutive games with a touchdown in AFL history. But before Hills reaches that mark, he'll likely move up the charts just a bit more in career receiving yards and receptions. Hills needs 10 catches to run down Randy Gatewood for the 21st most in AFL history, while 120 yards will move him up two slots in the career receiving yards list to No. 22 overall.
Most Receptions in AFL History
20: Jason Willis: 717
21: Randy Gatewood: 690
22: Joe Hills: 680
T-23: Derek Lee: 672
T-23: Marco Thomas: 672
Most Receiving Yards in AFL History
22: Kevin Swayne: 8,488
23: Darryl Hammond: 8,456
24: Joe Hills: 8,368
25: Ben Nelson: 8,271
Richardson Near Half a Hundo - The quest for reaching 50 career rushing touchdowns had to wait a week for Jeramie Richardson. After not finding the end zone in Week 10, Richardson is stuck on 49 career rushing TDs. He'll hope to get to the half-century mark in Week 11 for the Cleveland Gladiators versus the Baltimore Brigade.
Off the Net - Brandon Thompkins' impact on the Baltimore special teams was felt immediately in his first game with his new club two weeks ago. Thompkins had seven receptions for 110 yards and a TD as a receiver and 68 yards on three kick returns. The speedster has 4,898 career return yards, and if he can add 102 to that mark this week against Cleveland, he'll be the 26th man in AFL history to rack up 5,000 career return yards.
Sims Could Be First to 1,000 Yards - Quentin Sims is easily the AFL leader in receiving yards with 962. He's needs just 38 to become the first man to get to 1,000 receiving yards on the season. Sims is averaging 120.2 receiving yards per game this year, what would be the 16th most in a season in AFL history if that pace continued. In his last 16 games dating back to last year, Sims has 1,850 receiving yards, including 10 performances of at least 100 yards.