Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Storm suffers franchise-worst loss in opener against Predators

TAMPA — Tampa Bay celebrated throwback night by rolling out the blue and red tiger-striped Zubaz, handing out replica 1991 ArenaBowl V championship rings and offering a free postgame concert by rapper Coolio. But one thing was abundantly clear — this was far from vintage-era Storm.

On a night dedicated to the '90s, a decade when the Storm won four AFL titles, Tampa Bay looked more like the franchise that hasn't posted a winning record since 2010, losing in historic fashion to rival Orlando, 76-25 in the season opener before 9,928 Friday at Amalie Arena.

"Too many mistakes," Storm coach Lawrence Samuels said. "Too many."

The 51-point margin of defeat was the largest in team history, topping a 44-point loss to Philadelphia last season.

The "War on I-4" is quickly dissolving into little more than a glorified scrimmage for Orlando. The Predators have now won four in a row and six of the past seven against the Storm dating back to 2013. Tampa Bay's lone win during that stretch was a 35-34 victory in June 2014.

Tampa Bay had two turnovers on downs in the first half and Orlando scored on all of its possessions, taking a 34-13 lead into the break. Gerald Young had a key wide open fourth-down drop on one drive and the Storm stalled at the Orlando 1 on the other.

"We make that catch and we're still running," Samuels said. "We block the right people going in from the 1, we score and we're off the field. Too many miscues against a good team."

Things went from bad to worse to open the second half. Orlando's Mike Lewis recovered a mishandled snap in the end zone for a touchdown on the Storm's first play from scrimmage and Paul Stephens picked off Adam Kennedy on the second, returning it 13 yards for a score and 48-13 lead.

"There's no excuses," defensive back James Harrell said. "Orlando is a rival game. They were better prepared tonight. They had our number."

Kennedy (12-of-25 for 150 yards, three touchdowns and three turnovers) had a rough night in his Storm debut, getting removed early in the fourth. He played for New Orleans last season.

Orlando starter and former Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard cruised, finishing 18-of-27 for 197 yards, five touchdowns and no turnovers.

Storm suffers franchise-worst loss in opener against Predators 04/01/16 [Last modified: Friday, April 1, 2016 11:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former Lightning forward Brian Boyle diagnosed with cancer, expects to keep playing

    Lightning Strikes

    New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor said can largely be treated with medication.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]
  2. Lightning Strikes! podcast: Preseason storylines to watch

    Blogs

    In this episode of our Lightning Strikes podcast, Joe Smith and columnist Tom Jones set up the preseason with storylines to watch, as well as expectations for the season. Will defenseman Mikhail …

    Will defenseman Mikhail Sergachev make the Lightning?
  3. Florida Gators announce 2018 football schedule

    Blogs

    The Florida Gators announced their 2018 football schedule Tuesday, including an early SEC game against Kentucky and a matchup against Colorado State, which was part of coach Jim McElwain's buyout from the Rams.

  4. For starters: Rays vs. Cubs in Joe Maddon's return to Trop

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon's return to the Trop will be the main story tonight, but there is still a baseball game to be played, between a Cubs team surging toward another division title with six straight wins and a Rays team struggling to keep alive a longshot bid for the second AL wildcard spot.

    RHP Chris Archer will be on …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since leaving the Rays to become manager of the Cubs.
  5. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs could run into their nemesis

    Bucs

    Greg Auman finishes wrapping up the Bucs' win against the Chicago Bears and looks ahead to Sunday's game at Minnesota, where Tampa Bay could run into nemesis Case Keenum, in our latest Cannon Fodder …

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) during a 2016 game. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]