Power run into Perfect storm
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 the season around.
Sheffield looked anything but a savior Saturday at Consol Energy Center.
Sheffield 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.
Sheffield's counterpart, 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 it gained in a 53-48 win at Philadelphia on May 11.
Sheffield, a Texas Tech alumnus, started that game after joining the team earlier in the week. He was staying in Texas because of illnesses to family members. Sheffield had six TD passes against the Soul after Jordan Jefferson had produced 19 in six starts.
But the Power offense reverted to its pre-Sheffield form Saturday. In six losses, the Power have averaged 31.9 points. For comparison's sake, the Spokane Shock is averaging an AFL-best 66.8 points per game.
Just as troublesome for the Power was that the defense — one that entered the game leading the league in total yards and passing yards per game — was shredded.
Perhaps the strength of Tampa Bay's McPherson-led offense is best exhibited by the fact it didn't require even one third-down play. Not that the Storm didn't need a third-down conversion; Tampa Bay didn't even need to get to third down to rack up 62 points. In effect, the Storm was perfect on its second-down conversions until it was running out the clock and with a backup quarterback during the fourth quarter.
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.