Last week vs. the Los Angeles Rams, Tua Tagovailoa completed a less-than-stellar 12/22 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
And let’s be honest, we all expected more.
But unlike the national media, most of us realized it was his first career-start vs. one of the best defenses in football and his first time taking the field since suffering that brutal hip injury.
So let’s all take a step back and relax.
Nevertheless, we would need to see more of the #elite, once-in-a-generation QB that I believe Tua is if he wanted to go toe-to-toe with a legit NFL MVP candidate in Kyler Murray. And that’s exactly what the Dolphins franchise quarterback did.
First, let me say that the defense did a hell of a job. And none of this would’ve been possible without them. But unlike last week when he wasn’t asked to do too much, the Samoan Southpaw was asked to deliver against one of the NFL’s top teams.
Tua did just that. Lifting this team, this offense in the way many had hoped when Brian Flores made the surprising change mid-season.
No NFL game is perfect, and Tagovailoa would admit to that.
“It was a good win, first off. I think the biggest thing throughout the game was taking what the defense gave us and just taking it a play at a time, a snap at a time. I was very fortunate before that play to have run and got out of that pressure situation on third down. I think it’s just taking it a play at a time. The plays that we’ve been given by our offensive coordinator (Chan Gailey) helped us get into situations where we could be successful offensively.”
Here is every dropback from Tua Tagovailoa’s second career start vs the Arizona Cardinals
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The most noticeable thing that stood out yesterday—besides how quick and decisive he was with his decision-making—is how mobile Tua looked. Some might say it was like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. But the truth is, it was just an elite player making elite plays.
Sure, we all know he suffered a big injury a year ago. To see him make some of those plays with his legs was impressive. Tua’s mobility was an aspect I loved about his game, but I was unsure he would be able to do the same type of things we once saw in college.
We saw that and more.
STATS: 20/28 for 248 yards and two touchdowns
It wasn’t all perfect.
Tua almost made a bone-headed pass on a throwaway, but the defender had his entire foot on the sideline. And then there was the intentional-grounding, which was a learning experiment. And that first deep ball to Preston Williams could’ve been placed better (but he wasn’t wide open). Overall, plenty of good and not a lot of bad.
tua to mack hollins for six. incredible pic.twitter.com/QYVfQoCfvu— josh houtz (@houtz) November 8, 2020
What’s most exciting, however, is that this is just the beginning of something special. And he realizes he has areas in which he can improve. Gailey’s playbook is slowly starting to open up and take shape. But plenty to correct, and that’s what is so exciting. Tua and the Dolphins offense realize this is only the start of something truly special.
I know a lot of people weren’t necessarily sold on Tua Tagovailoa. And much like you should’ve tempered your expectations after the Rams game; you should do the same after the win in Arizona as well.
But no one’s mind should be made upon ANY player after a season’s worth of film, let alone eight quarters (and some change) worth of film. With all of that said, what Tagovailoa showed on Sunday is why EVERYONE is excited about the future of the Miami Dolphins.
In the end, Tua Tagovailoa took a giant step forward Sunday. And while many of us could only dream this team would someday be playing in these types of meaningful football games, the reality is; it’s time.
And for the first time in 20 years, it looks like the Dolphins have an elite franchise quarterback. But most importantly, a complimentary defense that can help take this team to new heights.