TAMPA — The Storm's troubles last weekend started on I-4.
Friday, the bus' air conditioning failed on the way to Jacksonville, forcing a detour in Orlando to change vehicles. A roughly three-hour trip ended up taking seven.
When the Storm arrived at Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday, it found locker rooms the size of postage stamps. When it took the field for pregame warmups, the theme from the kids TV show Barney & Friends blared over the loudspeakers.
During the game, Storm WR Tyrone Timmons, after catching a touchdown pass, fell through a gate that was supposed to be locked and tumbled down steps. Announcements and music routinely played while QB Brett Dietz tried to make calls at the line of scrimmage, a violation of league rules.
And by the end, the Storm had lost 49-47.
"It was a tough trip all the way around," coach Tim Marcum said. "We turned the thing with the PA system into the league, but I don't think anything will come of it."
The loss ended an eight-game win streak, knocked the Storm out of first place in the Southern Division and jeopardized chances for a home playoff game.
"There are no excuses," Marcum said.
"We've just got to win our games and let the chips fall where they may."
Playoff picture: Because Jacksonville swept the season series, Tampa Bay must win the Southern Division outright to host a first-round playoff game. The Storm (10-4) hosts two 6-8 teams, Alabama and Orlando. The Sharks (10-4) play at Bossier-Shreveport (3-11) then host Spokane, the league's best team at 12-2.
Backup plan: Marcum said before the Jacksonville game he was most concerned with Sharks QB Aaron Garcia. But backup Bernard Morris stole the show.
After the Storm knocked Garcia out of the game in the first quarter, Morris changed the dynamic. Unlike the stationary Garcia, who looks for the deep ball, Morris worked the short passing game and used his scrambling ability. Morris finished 21-of-40 for 199 yards and ran for 30 yards and a touchdown.
Injuries: The Storm came out of Saturday's game a little nicked up. DB Erick McIntosh dislocated his shoulder, and WR DeAndrew Rubin reinjured his hamstring. Neither is expected to play Saturday against Alabama. DB Daryon Brutley sustained a stinger midway through the fourth quarter but is expected to play.
Transactions: The Storm waived OL Greg Hammond and signed former Armwood High star DB Jonathan Ordway, who played for the Storm from 2003-06. Tampa Bay also activated DB Byron Jones from injured reserve and released him.
Go Green: The Storm hosts "Go Green" night Saturday. Fans who bring six cans or six plastic bottles to recycle or a phone book or personal documents to shred get free admission to the game.