TAMPA — Tampa Bay WR Joe Hills was named the Arena Football League's offensive player of the week for his career game in a 77-65 win at Utah on Saturday. It was the second straight award for the Storm after QB Adrian McPherson took home the honor last week.
Hills set personal bests with 16 catches and 259 yards. The receiving yards also were the most in team history and third most in league history.
The 6-foot-5 Palmetto product leads the league in receptions (30) and yards (467) and is tied for first with 10 touchdowns, including five against the Blaze.
San Antonio's QBs: San Antonio lost John Dutton, sixth in Arena League history in passing yards (37,981) and touchdowns (752), for the season to a ruptured right Achilles tendon during last week's 48-41 loss to Chicago. His backup, Rohan Davey, sustained an undisclosed foot injury during the same game.
As a result, Nate Davis, signed this week, likely will start tonight. Davis spent 2012, his first in the league, with Kansas City and Orlando.
Backing him up will be Nick Hill, who also signed this week. Hill was the Storm's big free agent acquisition before last season. But the Packers signed him a month before the start of Tampa Bay's training camp. The Packers eventually cut Hill, and he resigned with the Storm in June, appearing in five games before a season-ending ankle injury.
Another familiar face: Former Storm DL Tim McGill also plays for San Antonio. He played for Tampa Bay from 2007-11, and his 33 sacks are the most in the league among active players.
By the numbers: The Talons, in their third season in the league, are 3-1 all time against the Storm. They are 0-2 this season. However, the losses (both at home) have come by a combined 12 points, including 47-42 to San Jose. They score 41.5 points per game, second fewest in the league. But their defense is first total yards per game (236) and second against the pass (222 per game).
Big-play D: Against Utah and for the second straight game, Tampa Bay forced five turnovers. DB Chris Smith and DB Jean Fanor have interceptions in each of the past two games. Fanor leads the league with three forced fumbles, and DL R.J. Roberts has two fumble recoveries. The Storm is second in the league with a plus-8 turnover margin.
Pressure: After failing to record a sack in the first two games, the Storm notched two in the win against the Blaze (by DL Rodney Beamon and DL Tank Tyler).
But the biggest pressure of the night didn't result in a sack. With the Storm leading by seven in the third quarter, Tyler got to QB Tommy Grady in the end zone. Grady tossed the ball away but was called for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety. McPherson ran for a 6-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession, and the Storm never looked back.
The Storm should get a boost on the line with the expected return of Pernell Phillips, who missed the first three games with an elbow injury. Phillips' seven sacks led the team in 2012.
Transactions: DB James Harrell was signed this week and WR Jesse Julmiste released.