In the midst of the mess that was the Ravens’ 22-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, one play might have summarized a bizarre, low-scoring evening.
With 13:11 left in the third quarter and the Dolphins facing a third-and-goal at the Ravens’ 6-yard line, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa tossed a screen pass to his running back while backpedaling away from pressure. But the ball ended up in the hands of offensive lineman Robert Hunt, who sprinted towards the end zone, barreled past defenders and extended the ball across the goal line while twisting his body before falling to the ground.
The play was called back because of illegal touching since Hunt, the starting right guard, did not report as eligible to receive the pass. Even if it didn’t count, the offensive lineman’s rare reception was celebrated as one of the best plays of the NFL season.
“I saw the ball, I didn’t want it to get intercepted, so I just grabbed it and took off running with it,” Hunt said after the game during an interview on NFL Network. “In high school, I played a little receiver, tight end. ... Even though it didn’t count, it didn’t click in my head that it didn’t count, I was just trying to score.”
The catch and run was so impressive, even injured Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley enjoyed it.
The play brought back memories of Ravens offensive lineman Tyre Phillips, who recovered a fumble and bulldozed his way for a first down against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
“I ain’t gonna lie, I’m kind of embarrassed,” Hunt said. “The guys just laughed at me, like, ‘It doesn’t count, man.’ ... I also got a couple, ‘That was nice, that was the best play I’ve seen all night.’”
After Tagovailoa threw an incomplete pass on third-and-11, Miami was forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal to go up 9-3. But it didn’t end up mattering too much. The Dolphins returned a Sammy Watkins fumble for a touchdown on the Ravens’ ensuing possession to take a commanding 15-3 lead.