It was certainly one of the uglier arena football games you’ll ever watch but that doesn’t matter to the Pittsburgh Power who ended a 7-game losing streak by defeating the Tampa Bay Storm 48-37 Saturday night. Conversely it is now the Storm who own the league’s longest current losing streak with six in a row.
A pass rush that has been nonexistent for most of the year finally arrived for the Power (4-13) as they sacked Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard six times, easily their season high in that department. The Power stopped the Storm five times on downs and added an interception and a fumble returned for a touchdown by Sergio Gilliam.
Despite the defensive success, the Storm (7-10) were still in the game because the Power offense was almost as bad. Shane Austin, filling in for the second week in a row for a concussed Steven Sheffield, was 18 of 32 (56%) for 249 yards and four touchdowns. He added two scores on the ground but was sacked for a safety and fumbled the ball at the one yard line which was recovered for a Storm touchdown.
Mike Washington led the way with six catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Tyrone Collins had eight catches for 97 yards and two scores. Christian Wise may not have found the end zone but he was making some huge catches for the Power in this game. Power offensive coordinator Jon Lyles was not with the team for this game so the playcalling duties fell to head coach Derek Stingley.
Randy Hippeard finished the day 25 for 42 for 204 yards and four touchdowns and an interception. Chris Davis was Tampa Bay’s leading receiver with ten catches for 88 yards and a score, and Joe Hills had seven catches for 49 yards and two scores.
Pittsburgh could have had a few more turnovers but the officiating was questionable at best. An obvious Hippeard fumble on a sack by Dominie Pittman was missed by the referees, although Pittsburgh would force a turnover on downs a few plays later. The opening kickoff appeared to possibly be recovered by the Power as well but they did not get the call.
The Storm did not even get flagged for a penalty until the fourth quarter. Conversely the Power were flagged for three pass interference calls on the Storm’s final drive of the second half but the defense still kept them from scoring. Even the Storm announcers were laughing at the free gifts from the officials in this one.
The victory was the first win in franchise history over the team that used to call Pittsburgh home. The Pittsburgh Gladiators moved south after four seasons to become the Tampa Bay Storm. This was the fourth meeting between the two teams since the Pittsburgh Power entered the league in 2011.
Pittsburgh travels to Spokane to face the Shock (14-3) next week and will try to match last season’s record of 5-13.
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Power Facebook page.