Last season, the Tampa Bay Storm had one loss at home.
This season, the team already has doubled that total after a 52-36 loss to the San Antonio Talons on Friday in front of an announced crowd of 10,126 fans at The Forum.
“Honestly, I asked them if they were embarrassed (after tonight),” Storm coach Dave Ewart said. “That’s a good football team, and you look at their roster and tell me how many rookies they have starting. ... Zero. That’s no excuse (that we have more), but that’s a good football team.”
Quarterback Adrian McPherson scored four touchdowns for the Storm (2-2), but he was injured late in the fourth quarter and replaced by Shane Boyd. McPherson has 29 total touchdowns this season, but Boyd replaced him, and after throwing a 10-yard touchdown to Joe Hills, Boyd suffered a leg injury and had to be replaced by Chris Davis.
McPherson injured his non-throwing arm, leaving Ewart optimistic, since McPherson leads the AFL in total offense.
“I guess we’ll see where he is,” Ewart said.
The Storm struggled to score most of the game and faced a constant pass rush on McPherson. San Antonio (1-2) returned two kickoffs — a 58-yarder by Dwayne Eley and a 50-yarder by D.J. Stephens.
San Antonio then burned Tampa Bay by scoring 38 second-half points.
“That’s a good pass rush,” Ewart said. “But we’re not where we want to be right now. We’ve got work to do.”
The Storm came into the game third in the AFL in sacks allowed (six) and allowed four more Friday night. The pressure got to McPherson, who lost a fumble caused by Joe Sykes, and Jamar Ransom scooped it up for an 18-yard score. Fred Shaw also had an interception off McPherson.
“This is obviously not the result we wanted,” defensive back De’Audra Dix said. “But we’re going to learn from it and move on.”
Dix, who had five tackles, was one of the defensive standouts, picking up an interception in the second quarter.
Greg Ellingson continued his stellar play with seven catches, 101 yards and a touchdown, and Hills had four catches with a pair for touchdowns.
Ellingson, a Robinson High grad, had the catch of the game, hooking up with McPherson for a catch and run for 44 yards.
“We had our chances in the first half, but just didn’t make it happen,” Ewart said. “We can’t let chances like that get away from us.”