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Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Storm lose to Sharks, remain winless

Connor Akeman
Monday May 2, 2016

“We actually got two weeks to prepare for Jacksonville,” Storm defensive back James Harrell said earlier this week. ‘So that was the best part.”

Well, safe to say those were two weeks not well spent. The Tampa Bay Storm dropped this one 33-27 to the Jacksonville Sharks to fall to 0-4 on the season. With the loss, the Storm are now 4-11 all-time against the Sharks, and remain the only team in the league not to score 30 total points this season.

When trying to find words to sum up this game in particular, the quarterback play is certainly the first thing that sticks out. Storm rookie QB Jonathan Bane got the start, and seemed to come up short, literally, on almost every big play opportunity for the Storm. None bigger than on the Storm’s final drive, when Bane tossed one out of bounds on 4thand goal to essentially end the game.

“I went to put the ball in the back corner and I threw it off my back foot. I wasn’t able to put enough on it,” Bane said after the game.

While his stat line isn’t exactly the worst you will ever see, there is no questioning the accuracy, or lack thereof, affected the offensive outcome and flow of this game for the Storm.

Bane finished the game 21 of 38 for 281 yards and three touchdowns, and while there were about five or six close calls, no interceptions.

“We definitely left a lot of plays out there on the field,” Bane said. “There were a lot of balls I could’ve completed that I didn’t.”

Bane speaks the truth, and I can’t blame him for that. It was very interesting however, to hear Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels say postgame “We just came up short… we are staying the course, we are going to keep getting better, keep fighting. I just hope everyone sees that. We can coach and we can get this team headed in the right direction. It’s just a matter of time. Just a matter of time”.

Strong words from Coach Samuels, indeed. Especially as the seat he sits in seems to be getting toastier with each progressing week.

There are two positives to take from this game as far as Storm fans should be concerned. A) At least this one wasn’t a blowout and B) T.T Toliver can still ball. At 39 years old, Toliver made a miraculous catch late in the fourth quarter that, at the time looked like it could be a game-winning score for the Storm. But then of course, the Storm happened.

Regardless, Toliver deserves endless credit and praise for continuing to battle every week for this team.

For just the second time in franchise history, the Storm have started a season 0-4. Perhaps, the more alarming detail however is the 30 total points scored I hinted at earlier. The Storm have scored less than 30 points in 6 of their last 15 games dating back to last season. In comparison, the Arizona Rattlers have scored less than 30 points six times total since the year 2000. Yikes.

The days of Storm fans bragging about championships, hall of fame players and coaches, big rivalry wins, and so on have vanished. This ship is sinking, and it has been for the past three seasons. The talk now turns to how the Storm can avoid becoming the laughing stock of the Arena Football League.

And if they haven’t already taken that title? Like Coach Samuels said, “It’s just a matter of time”.

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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