What a difference a few weeks make.
On September 29th, the Dolphins traveled to Cincinnati with a record of 3-0 for a Thursday night showdown with the Bengals.
Miami was riding high just a few days after an improbable victory over the Buffalo Bills. Those feelings of elation wouldn’t last long, however.
In the second quarter of the game against the Bengals, quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, was driven backwards onto the turf, slamming his head against the concrete surface which caused him to lose consciousness and suffer a serious head injury. He was carted off of the field after being down for several minutes. The Dolphins would go on to lose to Cincinnati.
Tagovailoa would miss Miami’s next two contests as his team dropped two more games to both the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.
On October 23rd - a Sunday Night Football matchup against the Steelers - Tua returned to action and led his team to victory despite looking rusty and out of sync with his receivers. Some fans started to get a little restless, wondering if Miami’s early season offensive success was somewhat of an anomaly.
Fast forward to this past Sunday in Detroit, and Tua Tagovailoa put those worries to rest while having, arguably, his best game as a professional football player against the Lions.
Miami Dolphins Week Eight MVP - Tua Tagovailoa
Was Sunday’s win in Detroit Tua’s best game in a Dolphins’ uniform? Pro Football Focus thinks so.
#Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa was ELITE in the Week 8 victory over Detroit— Ryan Smith (@PFF_RyanSmith) October 31, 2022
- 96.8 (!) overall grade
- 93.9 adjusted completion %
- 12.0 ADOT
The best game of his young career
Not only was Sunday’s game Tua’s highest graded as a pro, it was the highest graded quarterback performance for the entire NFL this season.
Against the Lions, Tua completed 29 passes on 36 attempts (80.6% completion rate), for 382 yards and three touchdowns. He should have been credited with a fourth touchdown, however the referees incorrectly ruled wide receiver, Trent Sherfield, down within the one yard line on a pass from Tua and the Dolphins elected not to challenge the call on the field.
Maybe Tagovailoa’s most impressive accomplishment from Sunday was something that was actually missing from the stat-sheet. Tua had zero turnovers - and most important - zero turnover worthy plays.
Games like Sunday are the ones that make fans feel like Miami has finally found their franchise quarterback after decades of waiting since Dan Marino’s retirement. Some will scoff at Tua’s stats and say, “He only did it against the Lions!” Well, to that, I say there are a bunch of bad teams in the NFL that play week in and week out. Tua had the best game of any quarterback against any team this season, good or bad. He did exactly what he was supposed to do and that doesn’t make it any less impressive in my book.
Tua Tagovailoa and the rest of the Miami Dolphins’ offense will look to continue their success next week when they face the suddenly Roquan Smith-less Chicago Bears.
Week One - DB Kader Kohou
Week Two - QB Tua Tagovailoa
Week Three - S Jevon Holland
Week Four - WR Tyreek Hill
Week Five - RB Raheem Mostert
Week Six - WR Tyreek Hill
Week Seven - DB Noah Igbinoghene
Week Eight - QB Tua Tagovailoa