Power run into Perfect storm
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After throwing six touchdown passes in leading the Power to a season-high point total and upset road victory last week, Steven Sheffield appeared to be the spark needed to turn around the season.
Sheffield looked anything but a savior Saturday at Consol Energy Center.
He threw four interceptions, and the Power remained winless at home with a 62-34 loss to the Tampa Bay Storm in front of 4,625 fans.
“I was a little overly aggressive and trusting my arm and trusting my receivers too much rather than running the offense and doing what I'm supposed to be doing as a quarterback,” Sheffield said. “Disappointing because my performance was way below average.”
Tampa Bay quarterback Adrian McPherson, on the other hand, had three times as many touchdown passes (six) as incompletions (two). Three of his TDs went to Greg Ellingson, two to Michael Lindsey.
Mike Washington had seven receptions for 99 yards and a TD, and Alvin Ray Jackson had two TD catches for the Power (2-6), which failed to maintain momentum from a 53-48 win at Philadelphia on May 11.
“We played sloppy everywhere,” Power coach Derek Stingley said.
After Sheffield had six TD passes against Philadelphia, the Power offense reverted to its pre-Sheffield form Saturday. It was hurt by the loss James Robinson and Shamar Graves, who left the game early because of injury. Jackson starts at linebacker but was filling in at receiver.
The Power's defense came in leading the league in total yards and passing yards per game but was shredded.
Tampa Bay's McPherson-led offense didn't require even one third-down play to rack up 62 points. In effect, the Storm was perfect on its second-down conversions until it was running out the clock with a backup quarterback during the fourth quarter.
“I'm really disappointed in the way the defense played,” Stingley said. “I don't think we made a play out there today.
“We were just giving stuff away. That's not like us at all. Not even close.”
Sheffield finished 23 for 44 for 276 yards and three TDs passing and another rushing. Two sure interceptions were negated when one was dropped by the Storm's De'Audra Dix and another was taken off the board because of a roughing-the-passer penalty.
In addition to his 20-for-22 performance with six TD passes, McPherson extended the AFL season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with his 24th of the season.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
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