Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The Dolphins’ second-year quarterback completed 16/23 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Last week, when Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a critical interception in the endzone, everyone had something to say about it. It was all over social media, television, radio, and podcasts. There were even some fans still breaking down the tape by mid-week.
However, the question I wondered was, would those same pundits be talking about Tua—had he not thrown that costly interception vs. Chicago? Would those same people be talking about Tua Tagovailoa if he went out there and completed, let’s say, 16 of 23 for 183 yards and a touchdown?
Would they then be talking about how impressive he was as he orchestrated one scoring drive after another?
Well, if they won’t, I will.
Yes, it was against some of the Atlanta Falcons backups, who don’t necessarily have the most vaunted defense as it is. And yes, I have to reiterate that it is the only preseason, so try to keep in mind that most teams will look much different in week one of the NFL regular season.
Nevertheless, what I saw from Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins offense vs. Atlanta was impressive. George Godsey and Eric Studesville called a good game—albeit preseason—and put their players in a position to make plays. At that point, it was up to Tua Tagovailoa to get his playmakers the ball in space, which he looks to do on every play.
tua on waddle: „he showed everyone who he is as a player. kinda the things he’s done at alabama. you give him the ball in space and let him work. i think that goes for all our guys. you give them the ball in space and let the playmakers make plays for you.”
— josh houtz (@houtz) August 22, 2021
On Miami’s opening drive, Myles Gaskin looked like a bonafide star carrying the team on his back like Hodor—capping it off with a one-yard touchdown run. (Gaskin also had a receiving touchdown.) The offensive line looked much improved, Mike Gesicki continued to make plays, and rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle finally got involved.
But in the end, it was Tua Tagovailoa—the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback—that took control of the offense, literally, as Myles Gaskin pointed out after the game when he was asked about the offense’s ability to operate at a fast pace.
“Yeah, that was a point of emphasis this week. I think Tua (Tagovailoa) kind of drove it home for the rest of the offense. It’s one thing to hear it from (Head Coach Brian Flores) Flo. Obviously, you want to do what the coach says, but when the head guy, the quarterback in the huddle, is kind of leading the way, everybody wants to listen to him a lot. I think it kind of looked good for us just to get on the ball fast, make sure to keep them on their toes, stuff like that, but I think we did a good job.”
— josh houtz (@houtz) August 22, 2021
Tua looked in control of the offense and understood what the defense was giving him. But, most impressive was his ability to move around in the pocket. Tagovailoa looked like a ballerina at times, avoiding pressure as he moved in and out of traffic. In addition, he looked poised in the pocket, going through his progressions.
And who can forget his accuracy, which was once again reminiscent of what we fell in love with at Tuscaloosa? Tagovailoa looked as good as advertised. He may have even looked #elite very good at times.
But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself!
Here’s every dropback from Tua Tagovailoa’s first-half performance (minus the last two receptions to end the half)
What are your thoughts on Tua Tagovailoa’s performance vs. the Atlanta Falcons? What did you like? What did you dislike? How did you feel the offense did after a lackluster performance a week ago? How did you feel about the offensive line? Myles Gaskin? Let us know in the comments section below!