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Storm remain winless in Jacksonville as season hangs in the balance

Connor Akeman
Sunday July 26, 2015

Two weeks ago, after a crushing home loss to the Orlando Predators, Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels had a message for his team.

“We’re not out of it by far,” Samuels said. “We’ve got four games to play, and we can go and win all of them.”

So how did his Tampa Bay Storm respond? With back-to-back blowout defeats, of course.  

Just when you think you’ve seen rock bottom. When you think it can get any worse. It does, literally. It was the worst loss in franchise history for the Storm on Saturday night, a 63-16 final courtesy of the Jacksonville Sharks

For the second straight week, the Storm simply didn’t show up. A raucous and historical crowd of 13,092 certainly didn’t mind that. Jacksonville went up 14-0 quickly in the first quarter and never looked back. After the Sharks put up 21 unanswered points, a long Storm field goal would make the score 35-10 at halftime. And that’s pretty much all you need to know. The Storm dropped to 0-7 all-time in Jacksonville.

While I believe this game is about the bigger picture for the Storm, there are some glaring issues that warrant discussion. Offensively, the Storm were held to a one-touchdown half for the fourth (and then fifth) time this season. Yes, fourth (and fifth). Tampa Bay also finished the night 0-for-5 on fourth down conversions, the majority of which were unsuccessful at key points in the game. 

Defensively, where do we start? The Tampa Bay defense couldn’t manage one stop and the Storm have now allowed touchdowns on 17 straight possessions dating back to last week’s game in New Orleans. 

Now, about that bigger picture. The Storm have guaranteed themselves of two things: 1) a fifth straight losing season and 2) what should be an even warmer Lawrence Samuels seat cushion. 

Miraculously, the Storm still find themselves alive in the playoff hunt, and it’s a fairly easy equation. Tampa Bay must win out, and Cleveland must lose out. Both teams have two games remaining. 

While I find it extremely useless to sit here and repeat the same things over and over, week after week, the Storm are frankly making it easy by simply producing the same results week after week. Honestly, it’s getting very old talking about this after every loss. And sure, this is not all Samuels' fault. This is not all the defense's fault. This is a top to bottom franchise collapse. Changes must be made. The numbers don’t lie. 

As cliché as it may sound, the fans deserve better. 

Fix it.

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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