The Storm took an incredible 56-49 victory Saturday at the Forum, with a banged-up quarterback Randy Hippeard returning to the field to throw the tying and winning touchdowns.
Tampa Bay then stopped Philadelphia after the Soul had advanced to the 1-yard line in the final minute. It was the third time on the night Philadelphia got to the Tampa Bay 2 or closer and didn't score.
Hippeard threw for seven touchdowns, four to Joe Hills. The Storm are 6-6 after their third straight win and most importantly maintain control of their playoff destiny.
Early in the fourth quarter, right after the Storm came up with their first defensive stop of the half with Philly up 49-42, Hippeard was intercepted and had his right leg rolled up on.
Barely able to put weight on the leg it looked like his night was over. But the Storm, after the Soul had gotten to the 2-yard line, forced them into a short field goal. It missed and James Harrell took the ball to midfield.
Backup quarterback Brendan Crawford struggled and after two plays in came Hippeard, hobbling his way to two completions, tying the game with a 4-yard TD pass to Joe Hills with 3:54 left.
Tampa Bay then came up with a third straight stop after Philly got to the 1, setting up Hippeard's 28-yard TD to T.T. Toliver with :46 remaining.
Philly had plenty of time to answer and force overtime but the Storm made the stand, giving Tampa Bay's defense a perfect 4-for-4 performance in the quarter, where the Storm outscored Philly 22-0.
Derrick Ross scored three rushing touchdowns to set the all-time AFL record but was constantly stuffed in key situations, another being at the goal line at the halftime buzzer to keep Philadelphia's lead at 35-27.
Harrell had a 19-yard interception as the Storm started strong but two turnovers on special teams later gave Philly the advantage.