When Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left the game late in the second quarter on Sunday, my heart sank to the bottom of my chest — because to me, it looked like a head injury, and he was not well.
Thankfully, I’m no doctor, and it was a back injury that Tua suffered. Nevertheless, he would come back into the game and, when the team needed it most, made one big-time throw after another.
Here’s what Mike McDaniel had to say about Tua’s toughness, his leadership, and of course, the critical completion on 3rd and 22.
“I think that’s one that’s a big play that I think Tua will always remember, that a lot of his teammates will because he was battling through and that’s really hard. Especially with how he throws, he uses such great base and balance that he uses his whole core to throw. And he had to be on time and on rhythm. He saw the coverage the right way. He attempted to move the field safety as best he could, but I think it goes to show how important it is to him, how gutsy he is, how tough he is. He can sense when big moments are on the line, and just very happy that him and (Jaylen) Waddle came up with the play to get us into scoring position that Chase (Edmonds) ultimately ended getting the score on. That was a big one that I think we’ll all remember for sure.”
There are a few throws I want to showcase in this article, but before I do, let me just say one thing:
Thank you, Tua.
Thank you for battling through injury and coming back like Bobby Boucher at halftime of the Bourbon Bowl.
It was heroic AF, and I applaud you. It also kept us from being forced to watch Teddy Bridgewater play football, which after two plays, seemed like a prison sentence.
But back to Tagovailoa.
QB1 completed 13/18 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown in Sunday’s 21-19 win over the Bills despite only possessing the football for 19 minutes.
The lone touchdown may have been the best of his career.
https://t.co/Oj5EPIPVWp pic.twitter.com/mQvLKVIBpX— josh houtz (@houtz) September 26, 2022
Last week, I said that Tua’s touchdown pass on third and long to Mike Gesicki was my favorite throw of his career. It was a DIME! However, I think he had one that was even better vs. the Bills, TBQH.
The throw I’m talking about is the touchdown to River Cracraft.
His release + the anticipation + the velocity! It looked like that Randy Johnson fastball that destroyed a pigeon. It was a laser!
(Great job by Cracraft to come across the defender’s body.)
tua tagovailoa firing lasers like he's buzz lightyear pic.twitter.com/faesEucjaH— josh houtz (@houtz) September 26, 2022
Here’s a closer look at where Cracraft was when this ball was released.
Tua had another insane throw on 3rd and 22, where he looked the safety off and connected with Jaylen Waddle — IN STRIDE — for an absolute rocket.
to on 3rd & 22 pic.twitter.com/WTW7D54xDA— josh houtz (@houtz) September 26, 2022
Tagovailoa talked about what was going on in his head on the 3rd and 22 DIME to Waddle.
“I guess you could say it was the adrenaline that was keeping me going with the throwing. But (Head Coach) Mike (McDaniel) called a play that he thought would work, and if we got a certain look, we wanted to take advantage of it. So, it looked like they ran a quarters coverage, and they played really deep, so I tried to hold the boundary – or the field safety to Tyreek’s (Hill) side. I tried to hold him and then I came back to (Jaylen) Waddle”
As for a letter grade, I'm trying to be unbiased and grade this thing accordingly, but his grittiness to come back in this game and help the team win is worth an A alone, IMO. Add in the big-time throw on 3rd and 23 and the touchdown to Cracraft, and I’ll go with an A-, but I could understand one’s argument if they were to say it was a B or B+ performance.
Nevertheless, we are on to Cincinnati.
Where Tua Tagovailoa will square off against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
What were your thoughts on Tua Tagovailoa’s performance vs. the Buffalo Bills? Were you worried we’d have to watch Teddy Bridgewater for two quarters? What are your thoughts on the league investigating how the Dolphins handled Tua’s injury? Which throw was better; the 45-yarder to Jaylen Waddle or River Cracraft’s touchdown? Let us know in the comments section below!