Arena Football: Offense sputters in 2nd half in Power defeat

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If the script for the Power entering its game against the Tampa Bay Storm seemed like a familiar one, it's because it was.

The team was coming off a rare win behind an uncharacteristically strong offensive performance and was returning home, looking to continue its momentum with its first win of the season at Consol Energy Center.

It was a situation the Power found itself in about a month ago after a victory against the New Orleans Voodoo, but it returned home only to lose the following week.

The narrative was a remarkably similar one and, ultimately, so was the result.

Quarterback Adrian McPherson and the Storm offense had its way for much of the game, totaling 301 yards as the Power yet again failed to get its first multi-game win streak of the season, falling, 62-34, Saturday night.

Though the ending was like many of the Power's games this season, the way in which it played out was different.

Through its first six games, the Power's season read something like a paradox: How did the top-ranked total defense in the Arena Football League belong to a one-win team? Simply put, it was a disjointed, inconsistent offense that negated much of the defense's success.

But, strangely enough, the defense that had carried the team for much of the season was a primary component in a loss to the Storm (6-3).

McPherson entered the game ranked No. 2 in the AFL in offensive yards and offensive touchdowns, but while directing Tampa Bay's offense against the Power (2-6), he put together perhaps his best game of the season.

He completed 20 of 22 passes while compiling 269 total yards and seven touchdowns. With McPherson leading the way, the Storm scored on all but two of its possessions, turning the ball over on downs just once.

For all the Power's shortcomings on defense, the offense was not much better.

After a strong start to the game, one in which it trailed, 35-21, at halftime, quarterback Steven Sheffield and the Power stagnated in the third quarter and quickly fell behind further as a result.

Making his second start for the Power, Sheffield regressed in the second half, completing 48 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions in the game's final 30 minutes.

The Power fell below its AFL-worst season average in points per game (36.6), with Sheffield starting to receive the same boos and audible groans once reserved for the team's former starting quarterback, Jordan Jefferson.

Wide receiver Mike Washington caught seven passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, earning his 300th catch as a member of the Power.

With the loss, the Power has not won a home game since April 14, 2012.

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Craig Meyer: cmeyer@post-gazette.com and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.


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