The Spokane Shock (5-1) suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of the Tampa Bay Storm (4-2), falling by a final score of 70-62 in front of 9,872 fans at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Shock offense entered this weekend’s match up as the hottest in the Arena Football League, but the Tampa Bay defense would prove to get the best of Spokane as they held the Shock to only 7 first half points. The Storm drove the field on their opening possession, scoring on a short touchdown pass from quarterback Adrian McPherson to wide receiver Joe Hills. On Spokane’s ensuing possession and opening drive of the game, quarterback Erik Meyer would be intercepted for the first time this season after going 193 attempts with zero interceptions so far this year.
On a pass intended for wide receiver Duane Brooks, the ball would take a Tampa Bay bounce into the air and be intercepted by Storm defensive lineman Rodney Beamon on a diving catch. Tampa Bay would go on to score once more in the first quarter, coming on a 46-yard pass from McPherson to wide receiver Greg Ellingson to put the Storm up 14-0.
The Shock would go on to score their only touchdown of the first half at the 14:56 mark of the second quarter as Shock quarterback Erik Meyer would connect with wide receiver Kamar Jorden from 9-yards out to bring the game within one score. On Tampa Bay’s next possession they would be held to a 55-yard field goal attempt and come up short, giving Shock kick return specialist Terrance Sanders the opportunity for a return down to the 16-yard line of Tampa Bay. Despite the short field, the Storm defense would force the Shock to a four-and-out situation on the 3-yd line to take back the possession.
After another Tampa Bay score, Meyer would go on to throw his second interception of the game on a wall-ball from 4-yards out as the deflected pass fell into the hands of defensive back Chris Smith. Tampa would go on to eat the clock down to 6.8 seconds before a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Adrian McPherson to take the lead going into the half by a score of 28-7.
While the first half did not present much action, the second half of the contest would prove to be a record breaking performance for combined points in a half. Between the two teams they would go on to post 97 points and break the previous record of 95 which was set in 2005 by San Jose and Las Vegas.
After the Shock would take the opening possession of the first half down the field and score on a 3-yard run by wide receiver Adron Tennell, Spokane would fall on the fumbled snap on the Storm’s next offensive possession to set up a quick touchdown strike between quarterback Erik Meyer and wide receiver Kamar Jorden on a leaping catch over the boards in the right corner of the end zone and bring the game within one score at 21-28.
Back and forth scoring would continue as Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson would connect with wide receiver Joe Hills for two touchdowns during the third quarter and Shock quarterback Erik Meyer would find wide receiver Kamar Jorden twice as well. On the final play of the third quarter, Shock kick return specialist Terrance Sanders would return a 58-yard kickoff for the score to bring the game back within one touchdown at 35-42.
As Spokane continued to trade Tampa Bay touchdowns in the final quarter of play, the resiliency of the Storm would hold the Shock just out of reach from taking over the lead. Spokane attempted four onside kicks in the contest, none of which were recovered by the Shock. Tampa Bay took a 56-42 lead at the 10:08 mark of the quarter and never looked back as they would go on to close the contest out by a final score of 70-62.
Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson completed 21 of 36 attempts for 310 yards with 7 touchdowns as the Tampa Bay receiving effort was led by Joe Hills as he collected 10 receptions on the day for 177 yards and 5 touchdowns. Shock quarterback Erik Meyer completed 21 of 25 attempts for 258 yards and 7 touchdowns, but two early interceptions in the game would prove to make the difference in the Tampa Bay win. The Shock receiving effort was led by Adron Tennell with 12 receptions for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns, supported by Kamar Jorden who had 7 receptions for 92 yards and 3 touchdowns as well.
The Shock will travel to Utah next week to take on their West Division opponent in the Blaze on Saturday, May 4th with 6:00 PST kickoff.