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. Tim Tebow Week: 12 stories from his Tampa Bay tour


    Alas, Tim Tebow Week — eight baseball games in eight nights that reunited Tebow with his Tampa Bay friends and admirers — is over. The fun ended Thursday night.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow meets fans and signs autographs before the beginning of the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

  2. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  3. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  4. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  5. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.