I will be the first one to admit that I’m a Tua Tagovalioa ‘stan’. And yes, I’m on record as saying I think he is a franchise-altering quarterback—which I still believe. But I will be the first one to admit he has played like a rookie through his first five starts, and that’s okay.
Because there would no bigger test than Sunday’s matchup vs. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, and although this game may not have lived up to the Chiefs Super Bowl win nine months prior, I think we can all agree we got a game that even we weren’t anticipating.
Miami’s 22-year-old rookie quarterback showed he could overcome adversity. He showed he could battle through pain, and most importantly, he showed that he could lead a supporting cast —eerily similar to the Island of Misfit toys—toe-to-toe with the best team in football.
Let’s take a look at EVERY DROPBACK from Tua Tagovailoa vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
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First, let me start by saying this wasn’t a perfect game by the 2020 5th-overall pick. The offense struggled to capitalize off turnovers—despite the favorable field position—and I don’t want to say Tua wasn’t good in the first half, but he could have done more with the opportunities he was presented with.
Some of the most noticeable mistakes include missing Jakeem Grant (on what looked like an illegal pick) wide open for a touchdown. However, it is worth noting Tagovailoa decided to take a chance with DeVante Parker in the endzone. The ball was placed perfectly, and any other time would’ve been a touchdown.
December 13, 2020
Then there were a few plays where he simply held onto the ball too long—which led to several sacks and critical safety. And, of course, there were times when Tagovailoa looked like a rookie QB—unsure of what the defense was throwing at him. Tony Romo would continue to point out some of the rookie's mistakes throughout the game but made it very clear that this was a special player.
safety. pic.twitter.com/rRQPUkZPT6— josh houtz (@houtz) December 13, 2020
Unfortunately, Tua threw his first career interception. Which, at first glance, looked to be a bit underthrown. But after going back and watching the game, it’s a great play by the defender. Yes, it’s a bit underthrown. But could have Jakeem Grant made the catch? I don’t know...
jakeem moss pic.twitter.com/nZuQSLz2XY— josh houtz (@houtz) December 12, 2017
For the second week in a row, it wasn’t the first half that told the full story. In fact, with the Dolphins down 30-10 late in the third quarter, it would take a special type of quarterback to rally the troops against the best team in the world.
And I won’t lie, I really wasn’t sure whether or not Brian Flores would pull Tua again. After all, he had no hesitation about doing so vs. the Broncos a few weeks back. And while this was a closer game and the offense wasn’t really at fault, there was part of me that thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” The ankle injury also factored into that.
But instead, like they should have done (IMO) vs. Denver, Brian Flores and his staff let Tagovailoa overcome adversity. They opened the offense up—because they had no choice—and Tua led the Dolphins to two fourth-quarter scoring drives. Some might say they #LetTuaCook.
December 13, 2020
There were plenty of mistakes made that could have swayed this game significantly. But in the end, the Dolphins battled until the very end. I just wish Tua and Miami’s offense would’ve had one last drive to try and make magic happen.
Here’s a look at every dropback vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tua Tagovailoa is a different breed of quarterback.
Simply put, he can make plays that we have not seen in Miami, since the GOAT himself. Best of all, he’s not done growing and evolving as an NFL signal-caller. And that’s what makes the future so bright in Miami.
Tua Tagovailoa showed the world on Sunday that he can play among the NFL’s elite. Yes, the defense played a large part in that. But what he was able to accomplish, when all the odds were stacked against him, is what makes Tua. So. Damn. SPECIAL.