Former Storm quarterback Danny Southwick, a surprise starter for inactive Kyle Rowley, led visiting Portland to a 61-42 win Saturday at the Times Forum. Storm starter Randy Hippeard left with a a leg injury, squashing what had been a damatic comeback attempt.
Southwick threw for eight touchdowns as the Thunder won their second straight, while Tampa Bay dropped its fourth in a row.
Tampa Bay was stopped on four of its first five drives while Portland got a touchdown on each of its fist five to lead 33-7. However the Storm would score the next 21 points, getting two forced fumbles by Mike Lindsey -- on his first defensive plays, in for an injured Rod Isaac.
With the gap closed to 33-28 early in the third quarter Portland got a big 35-yard TD pass to Eric Rogers. Then came the fateful Hippeard injury, on a sack in the end zone for a safety.
Actually Tampa Bay didn't fold right away, with Isaac going for a 32-yard interception return late in the third quarter making it 42-34. But B.J. Hall struggled at quarterback, not producing a score until five seconds remained.
Hills caught five touchdowns for Tampa Bay, which is 3-5 heading into a bye week.
Tampa Bay was without starting WR T.T. Toliver, DBs Chris and Donald Smith and MLB Rodney Beamon.
The game was heard on 620 WDAE.