by Travlis Hallingquest
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“Ass whippings are a universal language.” That phrase was repeated throughout episode one of HARD KNOCKS IN SEASON. Although fictional underdog stories have made memorable films and television episodes, this has not been the case for the IN SEASON versions of HARD KNOCKS. For clarity, I very much enjoyed the coverage of the Colts and Cardinals in 2021 and 2022 respectively. However, this was due to the best premium cable network covering America’s true pastime. With the combination of gridiron action and Home Box Office, it would be difficult to not yield a good product. The coverage of the Miami Dolphins should make for one of the most entertaining seasons of any iteration of HARD KNOCKS. 

HardKnocks_InSeason-Dolphins-TyreekHillThat phrase was primarily uttered by wide receiver Tyreek Hill (pictured, left). Hill is a front-runner for league MVP and is on pace to break the single-season reception record. This is due to Hill’s field IQ, and phenomenal agility and speed. Regarding the latter attribute,we learn that the Miami Dolphins have the five players who clocked the fastest speeds on the field during the season. The offense is helmed by Tuanigamanuolepola “Tua” Tagovailoa (pictured, right), a solid quarterback who suffered a frightening concussion during the 2022 season.  Tua is introduced talking to the offensive coordinator. The conversation is not about the playbook, but rather about Tua’s new hairstyle. This segment is not mere filler, the synergy between the players and coaching staff is highly entertaining. The atmosphere behind theHardKnocks_InSeason-Dolphins-TuaT-300x216 scenes in HARD KNOCKS has always been a staple of the series. This season the banter is exceptionally crisp. Hill has many players and the head coach mentioning that “ass whippings are a universal language.”  The plan is to hand out an ass-whipping to the Las Vegas Raiders. Although the Raiders are only at a .500 record (at the time of this article), their defense is formidable and is headlined by defensive end Maxx Crosby.

In practice, head coach Mike McDaniel directs the defense to simulate the nonstop onslaught that Crosby will certainly bring. When game day arrives, Crosby makes his presence known from the start of the first quarter. He deflects passes, forces Tua to make premature decisions, and outright makes the entire offense uncomfortable. A minor but nonetheless injury to Hill’s hand, makes it difficult for the Dolphins to get into a steady offensive rhythm. Despite his injury, Hill held onto a 38-yard pass from Tua to score a touchdown. Tua also connected with Salvon Ahmed for an eleven-yard touchdown reception. 

Miami’s uncharacteristically sloppy play kept the score close. Lost fumbles by Tagovailoa and by third-string tight end Julian Hill both led to Vegas field goals. Miami also failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Raiders 3-yard-line, when a quick pass to Tyreek Hill lost 4 yards. The uneven offense may have cost the game.  Fortunately for the Dolphins, their defense curtailed the Raider’s offense. The Dolphins intercepted three passes, including an interception in the end zone that finalized the game 20-13.  Hardly an outright “ass whipping” scenario, but this is yet another win for the Dolphins.  

When HARD KNOCKS IN SEASON returns on November 27, 2023, on HBO, we will see the result of “Black Friday Night Football” between the Dolphins and Jets. Stay with us.     

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