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For the third consecutive game, the Rush fell behind early and was forced to play catch-up the rest of the way.
Former Rush quarterback Raymond Philyaw passed for five touchdowns Saturday night as the Cleveland Gladiators beat the Rush 65-44 at Quicken Loans Arena.
The loss prevented the Rush (10-4) from clinching home-field advantage throughout the American Conference playoffs.
"We certainly did not play very well tonight," Rush coach Mike Hohensee said. "I thought Cleveland played more physical than we did, and I can assure everyone that we will not let that happen again."
Kicker Paul Edinger, the former Bear who made his Rush debut, missed his first Arena Football League career attempt wide right. Cleveland kick returner Otis Amey grabbed the ball off the iron and returned it 50 yards for a TD and a 21-7 Cleveland lead. On the Rush's next possession, quarterback Russ Michna was hit as he threw. Brandon Hefflin intercepted the ball and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown, giving Cleveland a 28-7 lead.