TAMPA — The Storm lost its first three games of the season by an average of 32 points. The score was much closer Sunday, but the outcome was the same.
Tampa Bay missed out on a late scoring opportunity and dropped to 0-4, losing to Jacksonville 33-27 before an announced 8,438 at Amalie Arena.
"We execute, we win," Storm coach Lawrence Samuels said.
"We've got to correct some things, especially on the offensive side. We left a lot of points out there. Guys running wide open. We've got to make those plays."
Behind by six, Tampa Bay marched to the Sharks 7 with a minute to play. But Jonathan Bane, making his first Arena League start at quarterback, misfired to an open T.T. Toliver on first down in the far right corner.
"They busted the coverage and he's wide open," Samuels said. "You got to complete that ball. It's Arena Football, man."
Bane then misfired on the next three throws, and Jacksonville took possession with 45 seconds to go and ran out the clock. The Sharks (2-3) now hold an 11-4 series lead on the Storm.
Tampa Bay has yet to score more than 30 in any game this season.
"I definitely left a lot of plays out on the field," Bane, who went 21-of-38 for 281 yards and three touchdowns, said. "There were a lot of balls that I could have completed that I didn't."
With the Storm trailing 26-20, defensive back Cortez Stubbs stripped Sharks fullback Derrick Ross at the goal line and took it back 31 yards to the Jacksonville 17. Three plays later, Bane found an open Toliver (nine catches, 148 yards, two touchdowns) from 27 yards out for a 27-26 lead with 9:50 left, the Storm's first lead since the opening minute of play.
A pair of players recently brought in paid immediate dividends. Mike Washington, acquired in a trade with Arizona, took the opening kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown. Free agent signee Xavier Boyce then hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 13 with 3:15 left in the half.
"That's what I do," Washington said. "They call me 'The Joystick' in this league. I just wanted to make a play and let the Tampa Bay fans know who I am."