DES MOINES, Iowa — After blowing a 14-point lead in the final minute, and getting intercepted to start overtime, the Storm looked to be headed for a heartbreaking and critical loss Saturday night. What it got instead was its fourth straight victory, 62-56 in overtime.
Quarterback Randy Hippeard strolled in untouched for the winning 11-yard touchdown, but the key was Tampa Bay's defense coming up with a stop after Hippeard had been intercepted to start overtime.
Iowa (6-7) recovered an onside kick with 25 seconds left, then Marco Thomas' third touchdown catch of the game, a 9-yarder, made it 56-54 with no time left. On the two-point conversion, Iowa's Darius Reynolds heaved the tying pass to Thomas.
But the Storm shook off Iowa's comeback for a critical win. Entering the game, Tampa Bay, Iowa and Philadelphia were tied for the final playoff spot in the American Conference. Philadelphia (6-7) lost to Pittsburgh 57-56, meaning Tampa Bay (7-6) has the second wild card to itself. Meanwhile, the South Division title is still within reach: Tampa Bay is one game behind Orlando and hosts the Predators on June 21.