|March 23||vs Jacksonville||
|March 30||vs Cleveland||W 69-37|
|April 6||AT Utah||
|April 12||vs San Antonio||L 36-52|
|April 20||AT Orlando||
|April 27||AT Spokane||W 70-62|
|May 4||vs New Orleans||
|May 10||AT San Jose||L 34-64|
|May 18||AT Pittsburgh||
|May 25||vs Philadelphia||L 55-73|
|June 1||AT Iowa||
|June 8||vs Orlando||L 48-55|
|June 15||AT New Orleans||
|June 22||vs Chicago||L 49-50|
|July 6||vs Spokane||
|July 13||AT San Antonio||L 42-68|
|July 20||vs Pittsburgh||
|July 27||AT Jacksonville||7:00pm|
The Storm had finally made their first stop of the game to take the lead, which is supposed to be a good thing.
But it actually worked out perfectly for the opponent. Chicago worked the clock so that it would have the chance to score last, including a two-point conversion on the last play as the Rush won 50-49 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday night.
It's Tampa Bay's third loss in a row sending the Storm to 7-7 heading into a bye week. Quarterback Carson Coffman's sneak with no time on the clock pulled the Rush to within a point, and his pass to Reggie Gray was the winner. But not without controversy on two counts.
Tampa Bay head coach Dave Ewart threw his red challenge flag thinking Gray was touched the sideline before getting into the end zone. It certaintly looked reviewable especially under the circumstances but the officials quickly announced that Tampa Bay had no challenge due to there being no timeouts. Officials could have asked for a booth but chose not to.
In addition, in plain sight a Chicago coach was yelling for a timeout before the ball was snapped but was ignored.
Without starting quarterback Adrian McPherson (hyperextended knee) the Storm could not have asked for more from Randy Hippeard. The only drive he did not produce a touchdown was at the end of the first half, when he only had :16 to work with and got the Storm in position for a field goal.
Hippeard threw for six touchdowns and ran for another. However the Storm did not come up with a stop until midway through the fourth quarter. Rodney Beamon tipped a pass on fourth down and it was intercepted by Tremaine Johnson, who fumbled it but teammate Chris Smith scooped it up down to the 15-yard line.
Hippeard found Mike Lindsey for a 25-yard score after a penalty and the Storm were up 49-42 with 4:28 remaining.
It looked like, at worst, the Storm would have plenty of time left if they allowed a touchdown. Chicago even completed a long pass down to the 1-yard line with :47 left -- it would have been better had receiver Jared Jenkins gone in. Instead Coffman moved the ball to within inches of the goal line, then took a knee on third down.
Tampa Bay had used its timeouts on the three previous plays, and so after Coffman's kneeldown at the :34 mark the Storm could only watch as Chicago called timeout with two seconds left. It really was Chicago's only option as a half-minute would have provided Tampa Bay plenty of time to win, but with that the Rush were gambling they'd score on one final fourth down. Indeed Coffman climbed over the top with ease.
Chicago went for the jugular and it paid off with Coffman firing a pass to Gray who was coming in motion on the left side.
With Jacksonville's winning the Storm now are two games out of the South Division lead.
Lindsey, Joe Hills and Chris Davis all caught two touchdowns for Tampa Bay and either had eight or nine catches each.
Beamon had to play both fullback along with middle linebacker for Tampa Bay, due to a controversial ejection to NG Tank Tyler. Center Brad Serini went out early, pushing FB Jeff Tow-Arnett up to center.
The Storm's playoff outlook is still great as far as getting in, needing just one more victory or a loss by both Pittsburgh and New Orleans in the final six weeks (and those teams play each other next Saturday).
But Tampa Bay is looking more like it will have to settle for the third seed whereas when the losing streak began, No. 1 was well within reach. In fact Orlando could be making that tough, as the Predators won their third straight Saturday and could be a game behind the Storm by the time Tampa Bay returns to the field.
The only way to catch Jacksonville for the South Division title, and home-field playoff game, is to pull within a game of the 9-5 Sharks heading into the last week of the season. The teams meet in Jacksonville then, and Tampa Bay would have to win by at least 10 points (the head-to-head tiebreaker is point margin if the teams split, and Jacksonville beat Tampa Bay by nine in the season opener).