Power's winning streak ended by Tampa Bay

By Greg Auman, FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, June 12, 2011

TAMPA The Power's four-game winning streak ended Saturday night, as three second-half turnovers cost them in a 62-55 loss to the Tampa Bay Storm at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Power (7-5) led, 48-46, early in the fourth quarter before the Storm (5-7) scored the next 16 points, fueled by mistakes by quarterback Bernard Morris, who lost a fumble inside his 5-yard line, missed on a fourth-and-goal pass to the end zone and threw an interception on a deep pass.

"We've been doing a good job (with turnovers) until tonight," said Morris, who passed for 335 yards and seven touchdowns. "We have to protect the football. We'll lick our wounds after this game and get ready for Utah (on Friday)."

Receiver Mike Washington caught his third touchdown pass of the game with 27 seconds left to pull the Power within a touchdown, but Tampa Bay was able to run out the clock. Coach Chris Siegfried said Morris' fumble was "really not his fault" and the result of a missed blocking assignment.

"Just self-inflicted wounds," Siegfried said. "Unfortunately, Tampa Bay played better than us. They made less mistakes than we did, and that's why they won tonight."

The loss spoiled a breakout game for receiver Jerome Mathis, who returned a kickoff 57 yards for a touchdown and caught three long touchdowns, amassing a team-record 195 yards more than he'd totaled all season.

"It's tough to even sit here and look it in a positive way it's a loss," Mathis said. "Turnovers are part of the game. It's just the way the ball bounced."

Tampa Bay kicker Kyle Chilton helped keep the Power in the contest he missed four straight extra points but his field goal extended Tampa's lead to 55-48 in the fourth quarter. Storm quarterback Brian Zbydniewski threw for 359 yards and eight touchdowns.

Needing two scores late, Morris had a long pass intercepted to clinch the win for Tampa Bay. Morris had played well for three quarters, completing 21-of-30 passes for 254 yards, six TDs and no interceptions.

Mathis had been relatively quiet this season, totaling 156 yards and two touchdowns in six games while limited by injuries. Last night's game was a breakout performance for the former NFL Pro Bowler, who had the Power's first-ever kickoff-return touchdown.

Mathis had touchdowns of 45 and 46 yards in the third quarter, getting behind the Storm secondary on passes from Morris.

The Power opened the second half with a turnover Lineman Nick Zeck caught a screen pass and rumbled down the sideline before Erick McIntosh forced a fumble, which was recovered by Cliff Dukes.

The Power's loss, coupled with the Cleveland Gladiators' win over the Georgia Force, creates a tie for the division lead. The Power beat Cleveland last week, and the teams meet again in Cleveland in the next-to-last week of the regular season.

Read more: Power's winning streak ended by Tampa Bay - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1P2SxEEaT