HBO 'Hard Knocks' 2021: Best Colts Storylines, Moments, Reaction for Episode 3

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 2, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 28: Carson Wentz #2 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

A visit from the GOAT took center stage during Wednesday's episode of Hard Knocks in Season: The Indianapolis Colts.

It was the third episode of HBO's show that is going behind the scenes during the regular season for the first time in its history. Sunday's game between the Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which the visitors won 38-31, was the major plot point, but it wasn't the only one.

In fact, the show started on quite the positive note for Indianapolis as media coverage of the team's win over the Buffalo Bills in which Jonathan Taylor scored five touchdowns played in the background of the team's facility.

Making moves in the MVP race is one thing, but Taylor was also recognized as Nickelodeon's player of the week for his efforts. T.Y. Hilton slimed the running back, while Grover Stewart presented him with his trophy with makeshift slime on his head.

It was the type of light-hearted moment that Hard Knocks is known for, as was Darius Leonard running into the wall because he was paying attention to his phone and Hilton winning a basketball shooting contest during a break in film study:

NFL Films @NFLFilms

Look up Darius, say cheese! πŸ“Έ<a href="https://twitter.com/dsleon45?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DSLeon45</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HardKnocks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HardKnocks</a> <a href="https://t.co/WLW4TZicYA">pic.twitter.com/WLW4TZicYA</a>

Indianapolis Colts @Colts

Watch out, <a href="https://twitter.com/Rigojio88?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Rigojio88</a>. πŸ‘€<br><br>Episode 3 of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HardKnocks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HardKnocks</a> drops tonight at 10 on <a href="https://twitter.com/hbomax?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hbomax</a>. <a href="https://t.co/FpeJafK3kL">pic.twitter.com/FpeJafK3kL</a>

Throw in Carson Wentz recalling a time he punted during a high school All-Star Game and a surprise 60th birthday party for head coach Frank Reich, and there were plenty of amusing storylines outside of the preparation for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Nobody stood out more off the field than cornerback Kenny Moore II, who was one of many Colts players who gave back by providing Thanksgiving food for the community. He also told the story of when he met Mason Garvey in November 2018.

NFL Films @NFLFilms

What started as a hospital visit turned into a lifelong friendship πŸ’™<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HardKnocks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HardKnocks</a> airs Wednesday 10pm on <a href="https://twitter.com/hbomax?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hbomax</a> <a href="https://t.co/QQyodfd6zm">pic.twitter.com/QQyodfd6zm</a>

NFL Films @NFLFilms

She really couldn't believe it was them 🀣<a href="https://twitter.com/KennyKennyMoe3?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KennyKennyMoe3</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HardKnocks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HardKnocks</a> <a href="https://t.co/FX3P9AeiZT">pic.twitter.com/FX3P9AeiZT</a>

Mason was a child with Stage 4 cancer whom Moore became close with after a hospital visit. Mason died in June 2020, but the cornerback remains friends with the Garvey family and spent Thanksgiving with them this year while reminiscing about the time he spent with the youngster.

As for the actual game, a matchup with Brady meant Leonard wasn't going to talk trash like he usually does:

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

.<a href="https://twitter.com/dsleon45?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dsleon45</a> had too much respect to trash talk Brady ✊<br><br>β€”<br><br>A new episode of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HardKnocks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HardKnocks</a> In Season: The <a href="https://twitter.com/Colts?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Colts</a> airs tonight 10pm on <a href="https://twitter.com/hbomax?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hbomax</a> <a href="https://t.co/bZTrpVg3Qr">pic.twitter.com/bZTrpVg3Qr</a>

Unfortunately for the Colts, it was the Buccaneers who earned the right to talk trash.

Leonard Fournette was unstoppable with four total touchdowns, one of which gave the visitors the lead for good in the final seconds when he broke free as they were running the clock down for a potential game-winning field goal.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

HAVE YOURSELF A DAY LEONARD FOURNETTE 😳<br><br>4 TDs for the Bucs RB<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<br> <a href="https://t.co/5tp41r28bX">pic.twitter.com/5tp41r28bX</a>

Indianapolis also fell apart after a promising start.

Wentz threw three touchdowns in the first half to stake the Colts to a 10-point lead at intermission, but he turned it over three times in the second half. Indianapolis also struggled to get Taylor rolling until the fourth quarter when he found the end zone during a game-tying drive.

Tampa Bay clearly made it a priority to keep the star running back in relative check after he torched the Bills, and it worked for much of the game.

Even with the loss, the Colts are still in the playoff race at 6-6 and have largely bounced back from a 1-4 start thanks in large part to Taylor's individual brilliance.

it wouldn't be a surprise if there was more of it on display in next week's episode, which will detail the upcoming game against the 2-9 Houston Texans.