Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Storm rallies to win season finale 57-44 over San Jose SaberCats

TAMPA — Before kickoff, the Jumbotron flashed Matt Grothe highlights from last week's game against Georgia.

The crowd erupted when the former USF star took the field for his first Arena Football League start. Then the Storm quarterback delivered another thrilling win in Tampa Bay.

Grothe drove his team from its 3-yard line with 36 seconds left and hit Hank Edwards in the corner of the end zone for a 22-yard score to lead the Storm (7-11) to a come-from-behind 57-44 win against San Jose (7-11) on Saturday night before 10,738 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa Bay's regular-season finale.

"I had the most fun I've ever had playing football (Saturday night)," Grothe said. "That was the funnest game of football I've ever played."

Grothe, who admitted to being "unbelievably nervous" last week when he came on in relief against Georgia, finished 17-of-34 for 279 yards with five touchdowns and one interception Saturday.

"Words can't even describe how nervous I was (against Georgia)," he said. "I was a lot more settled (Saturday)."

San Jose took a 44-43 lead when Juan Gamboa hit a 27-yard field goal with 36 seconds left.

After the kickoff, Grothe hit former USF teammate Amarri Jackson for 10 yards and Edwards (eight catches, 112 yards) for 15 more. With good protection, Grothe slipped to his left and lofted a pass over Edwards' shoulder for the score.

"We talked about running that play at halftime," Grothe said. "Hank did a great job selling the post and taking it to the corner."

Grothe added a two-point conversion to Jackson, and Erick McIntosh picked off San Jose quarterback Mark Grieb and returned the interception 46 yards for a touchdown on the final play.

The connection between Grothe and Jackson proved fruitful again. After hooking up for three scores against Georgia, the former Bulls accounted for six completions, 116 yards and four touchdowns against San Jose. Jackson's third catch — a 12-yard touchdown — helped him eclipse the Storm's single-season rookie yardage record. He finished with 1,619 yards.

Tampa Bay set the AFL single-season team sack record when Jermaine Smith (two sacks) came off the right edge and blindsided Grieb with just more than four minutes left in the second quarter. The Storm's 40 sacks broke the mark set by the Pittsburgh Gladiators in 1988.

Tampa Bay took a 43-41 lead with 10:30 left when Grothe sneaked in from 3 yards.

Gamboa missed an 18-yard field goal with 4:24 left, but Grothe was intercepted by Eddie Moten at the San Jose 6 with 3:18 left. The SaberCats drove to set up Gamboa's field goal.

Then Grothe came through.

And what will he do now?

"I haven't thought about next year yet," Grothe said. "But if they'd have me back, I'd love to be back."

Storm 57

San Jose 44

Tampa Bay Storm rallies to win season finale 57-44 over San Jose SaberCats 07/23/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 24, 2011 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ever since the Bucs made Gerald McCoy the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, he has struggled to overcome the shadow cast by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
  2. HomeTeam 100: Players 41-50


    Bulldog QB Charles Harrison III, (12) during the fourth quarter of the Zephyrhills at Nature Coast High School football game on Friday, 11/11/16.
  3. Lake Tarpon bass tournament still going strong after nearly 40 years (w/video)


    Matt Smith, left, and Gary Muchler, work to bring a large mouth bass into Smith's bass boat with only minutes to spare while fishing off Dolly Bay in Lake Tarpon during the Lake Tarpon Tuesday Night Bass Fishing Tournament on Tuesday (7/18/17). The fish sealed second place for the duo.
  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Orioles?


    After the Rangers swept them over the weekend, the Rays won't have much time to rest, with 14 games scheduled for the next 14 days. The second half of their homestand begins tonight against the Orioles. Here's the information you need to know about Baltimore before the action kicks off.

    Starter Wade Miley has melted down after a hot start.
  5. Sergio Romo celebrates striking out Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers to win Game Four of the Major League Baseball World Series at Comerica Park in 2012.