Miami Dolphins Week Two MVP - Tua Tagovailoa
What is there to say about Tua Tagovailoa’s performance at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins against the Baltimore Ravens in week two that hasn’t already been said?
Pick your descriptor.
How about this one? Narrative-changing.
For two long years, the media, opposing fan-bases, Twitter warriors, and even some from within Miami’s own organization have been quick to discredit the ability of Tua Tagovailoa. All Tua has heard is the (mostly) unwarranted vitriol spewed at him from all directions.
“He can’t throw the ball further than two yards.”
“His arm strength isn’t NFL caliber.”
“He’s, at best, a backup quarterback in this league.”
“The Dolphins should have drafted Justin Herbert.”
“Tyreek Hill is wasting his talents playing with Tua.”
And that doesn’t even take into account those who were clamoring for Miami to make a trade for accused sexual predator, Deshaun Watson.
Yet, Tua didn’t whine. Tua didn’t complain. Tua didn’t take his ball and “go home” by demanding a trade to another organization à la Baker Mayfield.
No, Tua kept his head down and continued to grind, day in and day out. Now, under the tutelage of new head coach, Mike McDaniel, Tua is finally being encouraged, empowered and given the support he needs in order to realize the potential that we all witnessed when Tagovailoa was rewriting record books at Alabama in college.
It hasn’t taken long for that new approach to bear fruit.
On Sunday against the Ravens, Tua Tagovailoa’s stats looked like this:
36 completions on 50 attempts | 72% completion rate | 469 yards passing | 6 passing touchdowns | 2 interceptions | 124.1 passer rating
It was his best game as a professional football player.
But numbers aren’t everything. These stats aren’t empty. Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t racking up completions and yards during garbage time. No, he was doing all of this while leading the Miami Dolphins to a comeback as large as any deficit they, as a franchise, had ever came back from. The Dolphins were down three touchdowns to a damn good football team entering the fourth quarter. That’s when Tua Tagovailoa did his best work.
Here are Tua’s fourth quarter stats alone:
13 completions on 17 attempts | 76% completion rate | 199 yards passing | 4 passing touchdowns | 0 turnovers | 154.2 passer rating
Hell, his fourth quarter numbers by themselves would have made for a fantastic day from the third-year QB, especially when you remember that his final touchdown was the game winner - a strike to Jaylen Waddle after avoiding pressure and scrambling to his left. After the extra point, the scoreboard read 42-38. It was Miami’s only lead of the day. It was the only lead they’d need.
Everyone within the Dolphins’ organization has raved about Tua Tagovailoa’s growth this offseason, but on Sunday, the world got to see it firsthand. Tua’s performance against the Ravens was everything we have wanted to see from Tua since he was drafted #5 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft - just one spot ahead of Chargers’ QB, Justin Herbert.
It was narrative-changing.
Now we wait to see how he follows up his 469 yard, 6 touchdown performance. Not every game is going to go his way. Not every contest will end with the Dolphins on top. But, hopefully Sunday’s performance against the Ravens is just the beginning of the magical turnaround in Tua Tagovailoa’s professional career.
How do you feel about Tua Tagovailoa after Sunday’s game? Were you someone who had reservations about him before his performance against the Ravens? Do you feel differently now or do you need to see him do it again? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13! Fins up!