The Tua Tagovailoa era has officially begun in Miami. The fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft won in his first career NFL start today in a 28-17 win against the Los Angeles Rams.
Entering Sunday’s game, the Rams were 5-2 and sitting third in the extremely competitive NFC West. The Dolphins were coming off a Bye week with a 3-3 record. Miami won their last two games leading up to week 8.
With all the hype around the first start of Miami's future star quarterback, Tua’s first series as an NFL starter didn’t go down too well for Miami. On his second play of the drive, the Rams blitzed the house and six-time pro bowler Aaron Donald stripped Tua, forcing a turnover inside the Dolphin’s 10-yard line. His welcome to the NFL moment came from one of the best defensive tackles in the game.
The Rams scored off of that turnover, but what proceeded that was Tua’s first career NFL touchdown. He threw a perfectly placed ball into the hands of receiver DeVante Parker, tying the game up at seven a piece.
After the fumble in the first quarter, Tua looked calm under centre. He is a quick quarterback and his elusiveness outside of the pocket allows his receivers to get open on out routes. He went 12/22 on the day and threw for 93 yards and one touch down. Miami called lots of screen passes and running plays throughout the game. We didn’t see Tua take many shots down the field throughout the game, especially in the second half.
Miami had extremely conservative play calling when the team was on offense. The defence played extremely well, so it allowed the offensive coordinator the freedom to call safe plays the whole game.
Tua didn’t need to go out and throw for 300 yards today because the Dolphin’s defence and special teams showed out. In the first half Miami forced four turnovers including a scoop and score off a sack, two interceptions and another fumble. Jakeem Grant scored on an 88 yard punt return, putting the Dolphins up 21-7 in the first half.
Miami converted once more after the defense snagged an interception, allowing Miami’s offense an easy opportunity to punch in a TD inside the five. Miami entered the third quarter with a 28-10 lead.
The Rams offence started to heat up in the fourth quarter, cutting the score to 28-17 in favour of the Dolphins.
However, Jared Goff couldn’t pull off a late game comeback as Miami’s first half efforts were too much to overcome for Los Angeles.
The Rams ran nearly double the amount of plays as the Dolphins and had 471 total yards compared to Miami’s 140, but they still lost 28-17 as a result of Miami’s stellar defensive play in the first half.
Miami moved to 4-3, while LA dropped to 5-3 on the season. Miami is now sitting second in the AFC East, just under the 6-2 Bills for first place in the division. Miami has won their last three games, dating back to their week 5 thrashing of the 49ers.
Tua couldn’t display all he had in the tank against the Rams, but at the end of the day he is 1-0 as an NFL quarterback and his next opponent is against Kyler Murray and the high flying Arizona Cardinals.
Week 9 will be an interesting test for the Dolphins as their defence will be going against one of the best offensive teams in the NFL.
Tua looks ready and I think he will live up to expectations in Miami, based off of what I saw from his limited passes against LA. Dolphins' fans should be excited.