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Storm tops Baltimore, locks in No. 2 playoff spot

By Darek Sharp, Times Correspondent

BALTIMORE — On a night Joe Hills set the Arena Football League mark for consecutive games with a touchdown, he wasn't even the top performer for the Storm.

Kendrick Ings ran back two kickoffs for scores and had a dramatic receiving touchdown to end the first half as Tampa Bay beat Baltimore 69-56.

Hills made it 6-0 with a 2-yard catch on fourth and goal, giving him a touchdown in a 79th straight contest. But Ings took over from there, going for 243 total yards and making it 42-28 at halftime with a spectacular 28-yard catch and run. That was two plays after LaRoche Jackson came up with an interception for Tampa Bay (9-3).

Mike Lindsey and Ings scored on consecutive kickoff returns in the second quarter, but Baltimore (4-7) led 28-27 in the final minute. Lindsey caught an 8-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds left — the Storm's only 15 seconds of offensive possession in the quarter — before the wild conclusion to the half.

Tampa Bay scored on all three of its second-half possessions, each time after Baltimore had reduced its deficit to a touchdown. A final long pass to Hills put the game away, and he finished with eight catches for 73 yards and three scores.

Ings caught four passes for 115 yards. Quarterback Randy Hippeard was 14-of-22 for 232 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Storm is locked into the No. 2 playoff spot with a win by Philadelphia (11-1) on Saturday. Tampa Bay hosts Cleveland next weekend to wrap up its home regular-season slate.