“Another disappointing loss,” Head Coach Derek Stingley said. “We played sloppy everywhere. I’m really disappointed in the way the defense made we never made a play out there. What Tampa did tonight, that’s who they are. I was feeling really confident about this one.”
The key to the Storm offense is their quarterback Adrian McPherson who going into the game had 34 passing touchdowns and 23 rushing touchdowns and the Power were unable to do so.
It started in the first quarter when Michael Lindsey caught a 25 yard pass from McPherson on the first play from scrimmage, putting the Power down a quick seven points.
The Power though had a bounce back possession. Shamar Graves started the drive off with a big reception, fighting yards for the first. The drive would continue with a long reception from Mike Washington culminating in a six yard run from quarterback Steven Sheffield to tie the game up.
The Storm were undeterred though driving the ball and scoring with a McPherson to Greg Ellingson for a 13 yard score. The Power tried to respond, and it appeared as though they would tie the game after a Graves 21 yard catch. The drive would stall as Sheffield would have his pass intercepted by De’Aundra Dix. The Storm would capitalize on the turnover and Lindsey would score again, this time on a 32 yard passing play.
Down 21-7, the Power took over and were able to get into an offensive rhythm scoring on an unlikely play: a 20 yard rush by Kirby Griffin. The Storm would respond once again as recently activated Joe Hills caught a 34 yard pass off the hand of McPherson.
Sheffield would find Washington for his 300th career reception and a 39 yard score to again bring the game to a single score, however the Storm would respond again as Ellingson scored his second touchdown of the game.
Both teams were given an opportunity to score at the half, however the Power turned the ball over on downs, and a Dominie Pittman sack ended the half before the Storm could get another play off making the score 35-21 at the half.
To start the second half, the Power had the football but James Harrell intercepted the Sheffield pass returning it 38 yards for a touchdown. The Power were held scoreless in the quarter, the fifth time that has happened this season. The Storm would score one more touchdown as Ellingson caught a 19 yard pass in the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, the Power struck again as Alvin Ray Jackson, normally a defender caught a three yard pass from Sheffield for a touchdown. The Storm would respond later in the quarter when McPherson scrambled for his first rushing touchdown and seventh touchdown of the game. The next possession, he was removed from the game in favor of Randy Hippeard. Hippeard found Jason Chery in the end zone for a 21 yard pass.
The Power had a chance to score at the very end of the game and Jackson scored from five yards out. Kicker Julian Rauch missed the extra point though, his first of the game.
Following the comeback win last season against the Philadelphia Soul, Sheffield came in with high hopes but his four interceptions left a lot to be desired.
“It comes down to my decision making,” Sheffield said. “As a quarterback it’s my job to spark the offense, whether it’s throwing a short hitch or a deep bomb for a touchdown. I think I was a little greedy and I should’ve taken what the defense gave me rather than try and hit the home run a few times. performance was way below average.”
Coach Stingley did note that both Graves and Robinson dealt with injuries throughout the game however it did say that it ‘by far was his worst game.’
The Power will host the Cleveland Gladiators next Saturday in a divisional game. The first 5,000 fans will receive freezer mugs. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.
Power vs Tampa Bay Storm Scoring
Storm: Lindsey 25 yard pass from McPherson [Bongarra kick good] 13:43 7-0
Power: Sheffield 6 yard run [Rauch kick good] 10:32 7-7
Storm: Ellingson 13 yard pass from McPherson [Bongarra kick good] 6:14 14-7
Storm: Lindsey 32 yard pass from McPherson [Bongarra kick good] 12:34 21-7
Power: Griffin 20 yard run [Rauch kick good] 8:17 21-14.
Storm: Hill 34 yard pass from McPherson [Bongarra kick good] 6:40 28-14
Power: Washington 39 yard pass from Sheffield [Rauch kick good] 5:20 28-21
Storm: Ellingson 6 yard pass from McPherson [Bongarra kick good] 1:28 35-21
Storm: Harrell 38 yard INT return [Bongara kick no good] 12:52 41-21
Storm: Ellingson 19 yard pass from McPherson [Bongara kick good] 3:13 48-21
Power: Jackson 3 yard pass from Sheffield [Rauch kick good] 11:50 48-28
Storm: McPherson 1 yard run [Bongarra kick good] 8:11 55-28
Storm: Chery 21 yard pass from Hippeard [Bongarra kick good] 3:34 62-28
Power: Jackson 5 yard pass from Sheffield [Rauch kick no good] 0:06 62-34