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FILM: Every dropback from Tua Tagovailoa’s first career start vs Rams


Los Angeles Rams v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Yesterday’s 28-17 victory over the Los Angeles Rams was impressive.

And while the world turned their attention to South Florida to watch Tua Tagovailoa’s debut, it was the defense that showed the world they were an #elite unit. However, despite all of that, Tagovailoa’s up-and-down debut will remain the talk of the town.

Anyone that watched the game would tell you things weren’t ideal for the Dolphins franchise QB. Here are a few examples.

  • Miami’s wide receivers dropped several passes. (I’m looking at you, Preston Williams)
  • Play-calling was what you’d expect from Ryan Fitzpatrick’s long-time mentor and protégé. I’m kidding. But this was by far the worst game of Chan Gailey’s 2020 campaign.
  • Dolphins offensive line only allowed one sack (early forced fumble on Tua’s first dropback)
  • As you’ll see below, play-calling was predictable, and Gailey essentially cut the field in half for Tua. I’m sure some of this was by design, but Gailey and the Dolphins have to #LetTuaCook if they want to keep riding this three-game win streak.
  • And in the end, this was a debut from a rookie QB. It went exactly how most would expect.

Here’s a look at every dropback from Tua Tagovailoa’s first-career NFL start:

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Tagovailoa finished the game with a less-than-stellar 12/22 for 93 yards and one touchdown. But most importantly, besides from his first dropback, Tua didn’t make any costly mistakes. I’m not sure you can say the same thing if Fitzpatrick was the starter?

But despite the okay start, this should’ve been expected. After all, a year ago, some thought Tua might never play football again. And after a tumultuous offseason? Certainly, we didn’t think five reps vs. the New York Jets was equivalent to an entire preseason.

Heck, even if you want to compare Tua’s numbers to that of Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, be my guest. I thought all three quarterbacks were fine prospects heading into the draft. But Tua was always the guy, and this one game doesn’t change that.

Brian Flores preaches time and time again that Football is a team sport.

And it took all eleven guys on both offense, defense, and special teams to defeat Sean McVay’s Rams. And that’s what we can’t forget. While the numbers that Herbert and Burrow are putting up are nice, wins are what ultimately matter. Cincinnati and LAC don’t have a chance to play meaningful football in January. The Dolphins do.

It wasn’t perfect for Miami’s offense but there was a lot to like about Tagovailoa’s play.

Tua showcased his picture-perfect mechanics, quick decision making, and elite accuracy that made him such a highly-coveted prospect. He also protected the football and showed glimpses of things that we haven’t seen from a QB in nearly two decades.

In six days, Chan Gailey and the Dolphins offense must prepare to go toe-to-toe with Kyler Murray and the red-hot Arizona Cardinals. Tua Tagovailoa will be ready. Will you?