Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Storm

Storm stays close but falls to 1-13 with loss to Philadelphia

TAMPA — The Storm stayed within striking distance and took a brief lead in the second half, but Philadelphia proved too much, winning 56-51 Saturday before 8,406 at Amalie Arena.

"I'm proud of my guys," Tampa Bay coach Lawrence Samuels said after his team's sixth straight loss. "They're a little disappointed."

The Storm (1-13) showed signs of life for the first time in weeks. It had lost each of its previous five games by 23 points or more.

But it never trailed by more than two scores Saturday against a team with the Arena Football League's second-best record going in.

"They're supposed to be disappointed after a loss. Hell, we've got 13 of them," Samuels said. "But I think they understand they're better than everyone is saying."

The Storm took its first lead toward the end of the third quarter.

After Kendrick Ings returned a kickoff 57 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Soul's lead to 35-31, the Storm forced a turnover on downs. Two plays later, Ings took a middle handoff in from 4 yards to give the Storm a 37-35 lead to end the third.

But Philadelphia (12-3) regained the lead for good on the next series as Darius Reynolds caught an 11-yard touchdown pass, making it 42-37. The Soul's Dwayne Hollis then picked off Adam Kennedy's pass on fourth down and returned it 36 yards for a score, making it 49-37 with just more than 10 minutes left.

"We were in a one-possession game and made a crucial turnover," Samuels said. "That kind of gave them the victory."

Kennedy entered in relief of starter Jason Boltus, who left with a back injury late in the first quarter. Kennedy looked sharp, finishing 17-of-26 for 241 yards with five touchdowns and the interception.

"I thought my backup quarterback came in off the bench and played a (heck of a) game," Samuels said.

Ings, a rookie of the year candidate in 2015 with the Storm who spent the start of this season with the Canadian Football League's BC Lions before re-signing June 21, also caught a 40-yard touchdown pass.

"Man, he is fast," Kennedy said. "As he gets more comfortable with the offense right at the end, I think it's the perfect time."

     
               
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