The Tampa Bay Storm set a season high for points in a game filled with wild plays, beating Baltimore on the road 69-56 Saturday night. Joe Hills' first TD gave him an all-time AFL record for games with a consecutive touchdown at 79, but he ended up being outshined by Kendrick Ings who was named the MVP.
Ings returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, and added a thrilling 28-yard TD catch to end the half with the Storm up 42-28.
Tampa Bay (9-3) returns home next Saturday against Cleveland. With Philly (11-1) winning the Storm are locked into the No. 2 seed for the playoffs, and will host a first-round game Monday, Aug. 14. Baltimore (4-7) would appear to be most in line to be the No. 3 seed but that outlook might change if the Gladiators (4-8) knock off the Storm next week.
With Mike Lindsey and Ings getting consecutive kick returns in the second quarter, Tampa Bay's offense didn't see the ball until the final minute. Trailing 28-27 Lindsey scored on an 8-yard TD catch, the Storm stood to only have 15 seconds of offensive possession in the half.
They would get an additional, and valuable, four thanks to this play.
Ings followed with the play of the night, avoiding three tacklers in the final 10 yards before making it 42-28 in the half. Every time Baltimore scored to pull within a touchdown, Tampa Bay had the answer, the first being Ings going the complete distance.
With all the kick returns the Storm actually ran a league-low (for the season) 28 plays, but Randy Hippeard managed to throw for seven TD, Hills catching three. Ings had 243 yards all-purpose.
Reggie Gray caught four of Shane Carden's six TD passes for Baltimore, some on incredible plays. Like this:
Tampa Bay had to work the whole second half, and sweated out a referee's conference when with the score 62-56 Baltimore's onside kick bounced hard off a Storm player and straight through the end zone for an apparent touchdown. But since the Storm never actually had possession they were awarded the ball at the 5-yard line.
Hills scored to make it 69-56, and Alvin Ray Jackson's interception any hopes of a Brigade comeback.
photo courtesy Tampa Bay Storm