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Defensive Struggles Become Costly As Storm Drop Third Straight

Connor Akeman
Monday April 28, 2014

While the Tampa Bay Storm have struggled in many aspects of their game throughout the season, one glaring issue was evident in Saturday night’s loss to the Spokane Shock. With the Shock having nine possessions in the game and scoring touchdowns on eight, the Storm defense was that glaring issue. 

In fact, the Storm’s only defensive stop all night was a missed Spokane field goal very late in the fourth quarter.
With the 53-41 loss, Tampa Bay has now lost three straight games and drops to 3-4 on the season. Although the Storm were able to hang around for much longer in the game than they did in the two previous weeks, the major turning point in this game was a Spokane end zone interception with just 30 seconds remaining in the first half.
“We were going back-and-forth and we had the chance to go up right at the end of the half, and I came up short with the pass,” Storm QB Randy Hippeard said. “In this game you have to score every time you touch the ball because it can be tough with the defense.”
Although it seemed the two teams would go back and forth with the scoring throughout the entire game, the Hippeard interception and a lackluster team effort during the second half proved to be the combo that doomed the Storm -- an effort so lifeless from the Storm, head coach Lawrence Samuels felt the need to address it postgame. 
“In the second half we had some people not believing,” Samuels said. “Being a young team when things go badly for you, we need to dig deeper. As a coaching staff we’ll address that next week and get our team on the right foot.”
Unfortunately, losing streaks are no stranger to this team the last couple years, and if the Storm were ever in need of a breakout performance, they have the right team coming in next week. The 1-5 Portland Thunder will visit the Storm as Tampa Bay looks to avoid yet another disappointing home loss. 
While it’s been easy to harp on the Storm for their dull efforts the last couple weeks on the road against divisional teams, there are no excuses for not being able to pull out a win at home against a team like Spokane. And there are no excuses for a defense not being able to come up with some kind of game changing, momentum swinging stop at some point in the game. Much like the Shock defense was able to do three times.
The storyline in this game was the non-existence of the Tampa Bay defense, and in next week’s game, who knows? But like I have mentioned many times before, this team is continually finding new ways to lose games. It’s a must win at home next week, but then again I said the same thing about this game.
Hippeard may have said it best. The Storm might have to score every time they touch the ball, because with this defense you just never know.

Connor Akeman is a freelance sports writer and aspiring radio broadcaster who resides in Tampa, FL. A Tampa native, he considers himself emotionally invested in the Rays, Buccaneers, and Lightning by enjoying season tickets to all three teams. He has followed the Storm since the early Tim Marcum days and can remember attending his first ever Arena Football game in 2007. Studying Mass Communications/Journalism, Connor graduated from the University of South Florida in May 2017. He has spent time with and has been published by the Orange County Register in Anaheim, CA as well as other outlets. He currently contributes to of SB Nation. You can follow Connor on Twitter @ConnorAkeman.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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