Storm snap losing skid, show promise in bounce back win over VooDoo
So how about we just pretend last week never happened, eh? Something tells me the Tampa Bay Storm would be okay with that. After suffering through the worst loss in franchise history, a Storm season ticket member was overheard saying “Well, at least we have New Orleans next week.” And although it wasn’t easy, he was on to something.
The Storm managed to grind out a 35-34 win over the New Orleans VooDoo on Saturday night and finally get back on track in front of the home fans. With the win, the Storm remain relevant in the Southern Division at 4-5 and improve to 14-6 all-time against the VooDoo. It was just the right result, at just the right time.
“Our guys faced a lot of adversity tonight and we overcame it,” Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels said. “Every time we faced adversity someone stepped up and made a huge play for us.”
The Storm went from losing by their largest margin ever to winning by the smallest margin possible in back-to-back weeks. After allowing a season-high 71 points last week, the Storm defense buckled down by allowing just 34 on Saturday night and forcing four turnovers. While it was just a missed extra point that made the difference on the final scoreboard, the Storm played to win on both sides of the ball.
“We wanted to let our fans know that last week wasn’t Storm football and it won’t happen again,” Storm WR Julius Gregory said. “We had a desire to win and fight.”
Well, the rookie is certainly a man of his word. Gregory led all players with nine catches for 74 yards and three touchdowns, earning himself Offensive Player of the Game honors.
Storm DB James Harrell continued to impress by recovering a fumble late in the third quarter, and later sealed the game with his interception with just 40 seconds left on the clock.
“In my mind, this is a rookie QB, the first thing he sees open, he’s going to throw it so I jumped the first thing I saw,” Harrell said about the fourth quarter interception.
Sure, the Storm could have just as easily lost this game in the final seconds. And yes, maybe last week’s result was to be expected. But this was refreshing to watch. The last two weeks have been nothing short of an emotional roller coaster ride for this Storm team, and the bounce back tonight was nice to see.
Unfortunately for the Storm, that roller coaster ride doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon though. In fact, the next stop? A date with the three-time defending ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers… in their house. And well, all the best!
Photo Credit: Philip Podskalan