This week we had a much better sample of Tua Tagovailoa for our weekly QB review.
The Miami Dolphins got a huge win against the Arizona Cardinals and rookie Tua Tagovailoa played a huge part in securing the victory.
“Tua Time” in Miami is underway and, so far, looks good.
After what was a subpar performance against the Los Angeles Rams in his first career start, all eyes were on Tua Tagovailoa to see if he could improve against the Arizona Cardinals. Not only did Tagovailoa play well, but he looked much more comfortable against the Cardinals, which is huge for a rookie quarterback.
On the day, Tagovailoa finished with a quality stat line to the tune of 20 of 28, for 248 yards and 2 touchdowns (stats courtesy of ESPN.com). He also finished with an 87.6 QBR and a 122.3 passer rating, both of which are testaments to just how well of an overall game he played on Sunday.
There were a lot of ups for Tagovailoa in this game. Like I said earlier, Tagovailoa looked much more comfortable in this game than he did against the Rams. Yes, the Cardinals’ defense is not as disruptive as the Rams, but Tagovailoa looked poised in the pocket and threw the ball with incredible touch and accuracy.
His second touchdown pass, specifically, was a perfectly thrown ball to Mack Hollins who was able to make a great catch over a defender. His throw in the first half to Preston Williams for a big gain was another moment where Tagovailoa’s biggest strength, his accuracy, was on full display.
More importantly than his stat line, however, was his ability to move the Dolphins offense down the field and put up points. Many were critical of Miami’s inability to put up points at certain points of the season when Ryan Fitzpatrick was under center and last week during Tagovailoa’s first start. This week, however, proved to be the exact opposite as Miami was able to put up points on just about every drive, a few punts notwithstanding.
Tagovailoa proved to be able to command this offense, which is something that many pundits and fans were worried about when the transition to the talented rookie was made a few weeks ago. It is still early, but after yesterday’s performance, some of that talk may be silenced temporarily.
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With all of the good yesterday, there were still a few areas where Tagovailoa needs to improve. He needs to be more assertive and understanding when throwing the ball away. He had two sloppy plays on what should have been innocent incompletions. His first throw away was almost intercepted on the sideline when he nonchalantly threw the ball way too close to the Arizona defender. He also threw the ball at the feet of his offensive lineman for an intentional grounding penalty that could have been avoided. Yes, these are nitpicky things, but they are also things that could cost games in the future and are easily correctable.
On that same note, Tagovailoa also needs to work on his pocket presences a bit to feel the rush out a bit more. He had some moments where he could feel the pressure and moved to keep the play alive, but he also missed a few opportunities to extend plays or throw the ball away.
With all that being said, Tagovailoa’s second game lived up to expectations. It’s still too soon to claim he is the future franchise quarterback, but his play is still exciting and gives hope for the future.
Weekly QB Grade: A