Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The 2021 NFL season opened over the weekend, with the finale coming later tonight on Monday Night Football. During the weekend, several players were able to make a mark on the history of the league, including a couple of Miami Dolphins players. There were also a couple of tied to Dolphins records of the past.
Dolphins rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle finished Sunday’s 17-16 win over the New England Patriots with four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. That score contributed to the first time in league history three rookie first-round draft picks each scored a touchdown in Week 1 of the season. Waddle, selected sixth-overall by the Dolphins, was joined by the Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase, selected fifth-overall, and the Philadelphia Eagles’ DeVonta Smith, selected tenth-overall.
Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa resumed his role as the team’s starter this season after ascending to the top spot on the depth chart during the 2020 season. As a second-year player, Tagovailoa is part of a youth movement at the quarterback position across the league, where seven first- or second-year quarterbacks started in Week 1, tied for the second-most in league history. In 2012, ten first- or second-year passers took the field in Week 1, including then Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill. In 2013 and 2000, there were also seven quarterback in the first two years of their careers, including Tannehill’s second season in 2013. The seven quarterbacks this year include Tagovailoa, the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow, the Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert, and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts as the second-year passers, along with rookies Trevor Lawrence from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Zach Wilson from the New York Jets, and Mac Jones from the New England Patriots.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 337 yards with three touchdowns on Sunday as the Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns. The game was the 47th start of Mahomes’ career and he has now thrown 117 career touchdown passes. Those 117 passes moves him ahead of Miami Dolphins legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino for most touchdown passes in a player’s first 50 starts – and Mahomes still has three more games to play.
The final tie to the Dolphins on Sunday was actually avoiding a tie. With no time remaining in overtime of their game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Cincinnati Bengals lined up for a field goal attempt. Rookie kicker Evan McPherson converted the 33-yard attempt, making him just the second rookie kicker in league history to win an overtime game with no time remaining. Miami’s Jason Sanders was the first to do it in October 2018.