The Miami Dolphins won against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and Tua Tagovailoa had a great bounce back game behind center.
At the beginning of this game, it looked as though Tua Tagovailoa either wasn’t feeling great with his thumb or was a bit rusty. Yet, as the game went on, the talented rookie started to get into rhythm putting together one of the more impressive games of his young career.
On the day, Tagovailoa finished 26 of 39 for 296 yards, a career high, and a touchdown (all stats courtesy of ESPN.com). Outside of the first few drives, Tagovailoa looked pretty good on the day. He did a better job feeling the pressure in this game, avoiding a number of sack opportunities. He also threw the ball much more accurately than his last time out and was willing to take a few more shots downfield, some successful and some not.
Offensively, however, Miami did struggle to convert on third down and put the ball in the end-zone when in the red zone. It’s not fair to say that Tagovailoa was totally responsible for these issues, it was mostly the ultra-conservative play calling from offensive coordinator Chan Gailey that led to Miami’s inability to score touchdowns. But, you do want to see your quarterback taking care of business in the redzone when he is given the opportunity to do so.
Regardless of the offensive woes against a poor Bengals defense, the most important thing that needed to be seen out of this game was a bounce back from Tagovailoa and we saw that. He looked much more decisive in this game, a huge step for any rookie, threw the ball effectively when he was forced out of the pocket, and put the ball in places that only his receivers could make a play on them.
It’s still too early to anoint Tagovailoa the next great Miami Dolphins quarterback, but this game was a big step in the right direction. The big question will be can he duplicate this next week against a much tougher Kansas City Chief team. The jury’s still out on that, but I think it’s fair to say the expectation is that he performs as well as yesterday.
Week 13 QB Grade: A