Woes continue for Power in loss to Jacksonville

Jerry DiPaola
| Friday, March 29, 2013, 9:59 p.m.

If Power players, coaches and management were wondering what went wrong Friday night during a 61-35 loss to the Jacksonville Sharks, they needed only to look to their right.

There, on the Sharks' bench, was quarterback Bernard Morris — the one who got away — catching his breath after throwing for four touchdowns and running for two more against his former teammates. The Sharks (2-0) never trailed.

And that's what surprised Power coach Derek Stingley most.

“I truly felt we had an awesome week of practice,” said Stingley, whose team has started the season 0-2 while being outscored by 57 points. “We understood what Jacksonville was going to do, and we truly felt we had an answer for everything. I could have been overconfident.”

The Power had no answer for Morris, who completed 26 of 37 passes for 248 yards with no interceptions.

Two years ago, Morris was the Power's quarterback in their expansion season, but the team decided to go in another direction last season.

The result: The Power have lost 15 of its past 20 games.

The biggest problem, however, is the lack of pass protection. The Sharks sacked two Power quarterbacks seven times in front of a crowd of 5,342 at Consol Energy Center.

The search for Morris' replacement continues. This year's starter, Jordan Jefferson, left in the second quarter with a rib injury and was replaced by Shane Austin. But the Power couldn't recover from a 34-21 halftime deficit. He returned in the second half, wearing protective padding, but Stingley said Jefferson may have a broken rib or damaged cartilage.

In the first quarter, Jefferson lost a fumble that led to a Jacksonville touchdown. He threw an interception while the team attempted a comeback in the third quarter and was picked off on the final play of the game by the Sharks' Micheaux Robinson, who returned the ball 50 yards for a touchdown.

Jefferson has thrown four interceptions and lost two fumbles in two games.

Jefferson was sacked five times, Austin twice. Jefferson completed 12 of 22 passes for 171 yards, and Austin was 7 for 11 for 85 yards and an interception.

In the first half, the Power experienced the same problems that plagued their efforts in their opening-night loss last week — poor pass protection, an ill-timed turnover and leaky pass defense.

Morris threw three touchdown passes before halftime and scored on a 12-yard run. The Sharks' fifth touchdown in the first half — a 1-yard run by Dusty Bear — was set up when Jefferson fumbled while winding up to throw and Jerry Turner recovered for Jacksonsville.

Morris also scored on a 12-yard run with 42 seconds left in the half to give the Sharks a 34-21 lead.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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