TAMPA — Because the Arena Football League's seedings in the American Conference playoffs were set, Saturday night's game between Tampa Bay and Orlando meant nothing.
And the Storm played like it.
It was the Predators who showed a lot of fight.
"We got our butt kicked," Storm coach Tim Marcum said. "And we provided the butt."
Tampa Bay (11-5) suffered its worst defeat of the year, 75-60 before a season-high 17,302 at the St. Pete Times Forum, in a game that saw two Orlando players tangle with fans in the stands during the first half.
With 11 seconds left in the second quarter, receiver Bobby Sippio, who played for the Storm in 2006, charged up the steps, followed by center Julius Wilson.
Wilson intended to give a ball to his father, but a fan knocked it from his hand and five to six fans rushed for the ball, knocking Wilson's father onto the steps, Orlando public relations director Adam Soucie said. Wilson threw a punch at a fan, and a fight broke out. Sippio's father was seated in the same area.
Both players were ejected, and at least 10 fans were escorted out. Sippio and Wilson, who likely face a league suspension, were interviewed by Tampa police. Storm media relations director Jim Robinson said no arrests were made for the fracas.
"There is no way that should ever happen," Marcum said. "Players cannot go in the stands for any reason."
In the latest installment of the so-called "War on I-4," Orlando (8-8) avenged a 62-50 loss to the Storm on May 28. Predators quarterback Nick Hill completed 19 of 26 passes for 284 yards and eight touchdowns, and former Storm receiver T.T. Toliver had nine catches for 123 yards and six touchdowns. Orlando scored on every offensive possession, and its 75 points were the most the Storm gave up this year.
"In every aspect of the game, we played about as poorly as you can," Marcum said.
The first quarter was one the Storm would like to forget as Orlando jumped ahead 28-7. Orlando turned two Storm turnovers — both Brett Dietz interceptions — into touchdowns. "Brett made some poor decisions in that first half," Marcum said.
A few records fell. Tampa Bay receiver DeAndrew Rubin set game franchise marks with 17 receptions and 245 yards. Dietz (32-for-49 for 398 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions) broke Shane Stafford's season record for passing yards with 5,054.
Tampa Bay must regroup before traveling to Tulsa to open the American Conference playoffs Saturday. Tulsa beat the Storm 69-58 in the season opener.