It appears Soul quarterback Tony Graziani can't catch a break.
Graziani, who has been hampered by injuries all season, made his anticipated return Saturday against division rival Dallas in a game that would put the Soul in prime position for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. It also meant a possible series sweep for Philly.
The Soul accomplished both with a 71-64 road win, but not before Graziani was sidelined yet again after suffering a concussion in the first half.
Graziani (8-for-12) was on a roll, throwing three touchdown strikes to wideout Chris Jackson - who finished with six. Backup Matt D'Orazio (19-for-23, 183 yards) picked up where his injured colleague left off, completing five touchdown passes and scoring on a 6-yard scamper.
"Matt came in and played exceptionally well," Soul coach Bret Munsey said. "He didn't have a lot of snaps with the first team in practice this week, but he came out and stepped up when we really needed him."
Both teams are 11-3 with a pair left to play, and the Soul has to win out to gain homefield for the playoffs. The Soul hosts Cleveland (8-6) Saturday at the Wachovia Spectrum before the regular-season finale on June 22 at New York (8-6).
Graziani's status is questionable and the team might have to rely on an experienced and healthy D'Orazio to close out 2008 on top.
"We are going to take a look at the film, talk to the doctors and take it from there," Munsey said, referring to Graziani. "Right now, our focus is to win out and we need everybody healthy and ready to play. When we are healthy, this is one heck of a football team." *