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NFL Next Gen Stats showcase quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s downfield precision

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a league-high 1,664 passing yards on vertical routes in 2022.

NFL: Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There is no disputing that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa turned the corner with Mike McDaniel calling the shots as coach of the Miami Dolphins. Tagovailoa set career-highs in yards (3,548), touchdowns (25), and quarterback rating (105.5) — all while leading the league with an average of 8.9 yards per pass attempt.

The official account of NFL Next Gen Stats did a deep dive and discovered that Tagovailoa is among the NFL’s elite at carving opposing defenses with the long ball. He threw for a league-best 1,664 passing yards when targeting vertical routes.

McDaniel’s offense allowed Tagovailoa to be one of the league’s most aggressive quarterbacks. According to Next Gen Stats, he was the only qualifying quarterback expected to complete more than half of his passes targetting vertical routes.

Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill made the most of their quarterback’s downfield precision. Waddle led the league with an average of 18.1 yards per reception — almost doubling his rookie-year average of 9.8. Hill ranked second in the NFL with 119 receptions and 1,710 yards — both career highs for the four-time first-team All-Pro.

Keep in mind — these benchmarks were met despite Tagovailoa starting just 13 games last season. If the former first-round pick is on the field for 17 regular season games in 2023, Hill could have a chance to hit his goal of becoming the league’s first 2,000-yard receiver.