It didn’t count, but we’ll never forget it
Thursday night’s Dolphins-Ravens game was your typical Thursday Night Football game: sloppy, low-scoring and anti-climactic. There was one exciting play, though—from the most unlikely source.
Early in the fourth quarter, with Miami up 6–3, the Dolphins ran a screen pass on third-and-goal from the 6. The pass was supposed to go to running back Myles Gaskin. Instead, for reasons that remain unclear, it was caught by Robert Hunt—the 6' 6", 327-pound right guard.
But Hunt looked like a perfectly adept ballcarrier as he juked a defender and dived into the end zone, extending the ball over the goal line as he was flipped upside down.
There was only one problem: As anyone who watches football knows, Hunt isn’t allowed to do that. He was an ineligible receiver and thus was flagged for illegal touching, which backed the Dolphins up five yards.
Patrick Mahomes had the same reaction as everyone else watching.
Miami, which had been set up with a first-and-goal from the 1 after a pass-interference penalty in the end zone, ended up having to settle for a field goal on the drive. But the Dolphins won the game, so Hunt’s play looks slightly less boneheaded and he was all smiles while discussing it on NFL Network after the game.
“After I saw the ball, I didn’t want it to get intercepted so I grabbed it and took off running with it,” he said. “I was trying to win, at that point. Even though it didn’t count, it didn’t click in my head that it didn’t count. I just tried to score.”
Hunt said he “played a little receiver/tight end” in high school, which explains why he looked so comfortable with the ball in his hands. He was maybe a little too comfortable, in fact. Asked by fellow lineman Joe Thomas whether the thought ever crossed his mind that his efforts might be in vain, Hunt said he was thinking about only one thing.
“I was just trying to get in the end zone, man,” he said. “I ain’t gonna lie to you. I was just trying to get into the end zone.”
Hunt’s play might not have counted, but it’ll live on forever on the internet—and also, apparently, in the Dolphins’ facility. The team posted a video on Twitter showing the door of an elevator in the building covered in a blown-up photo of Hunt’s dive.
The play occurred just before 11 p.m. local time and the team posted the video at 8 a.m., which means, assuming the video is real (and it looks like it is), somebody stayed up very late or got up very early to make it happen.
The Dolphins already use defensive lineman Christian Wilkins in a fullback role in goal line situations, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Hunt line up as an eligible receiver at some point in the future. And that’s something every football fan surely wants to see.
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