Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa shows he’s legit, silences doubters

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 13: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins looks on against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of the game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 13: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins looks on against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of the game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins have a quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa.

No one likes losing. It’s hard to walk away from a loss with any positive notes. However, the Miami Dolphins find themselves in that very situation. After a 33-27 loss to the defending Super Bowl champions, the Dolphins know something that should leave them smiling: They have a damn good quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.

That’s a statement that this team has not had the ability to make since much of the current players on the team were in diapers.

After embarking on the most dramatic roster teardown in NFL history, the Dolphins found themselves with the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL draft, along with an arsenal of cap space and draft picks that was unprecedented for this franchise. General manager Chris Grier spent his March plugging roster holes with some key free agent moves. After that, it was time for the draft…

“With the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, Alabama”. Upon hearing those words from commissioner Goodell, a fanbase erupted. The Dolphins had finally made it official and selected the young man that they had spent the last 15 months attached to via rumors and speculation.

Tua Tagovailoa rose to superstardom in the final game of his freshman season at the University of Alabama. He replaced a struggling Jalen Hurts at halftime of the national championship game. Tagovailoa led a double-digit comeback and tossed a game-winning touchdown to Devonta Smith down the right sideline. 2nd and 26, touchdown, Alabama wins. From that day forward, Tua was the talk of the town in college football. Fast forward a few years, throw in a Heisman runner up campaign, a couple of controversial injuries, and the most prolific passing career in the history of college football, and it was time for Tua to become a Dolphin.

The rookie made his first start in a 28-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams. A shootout with Kyler Murray, a few wins, a benching, and a thumb injury later, Tua found himself across from Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes, an MVP, Super Bowl champion, and record-shattering quarterback, heaped praise on his young counterpart all throughout the week. His 11-1 Chiefs had not lost a game in two months and were looking as strong as ever in their quest to repeat as champions.

To make a long story short, the Dolphins’ defense made Mahomes look human for almost two quarters and the Dolphins’ offense simply lacked the playmakers to keep up in the third quarter. Tagovailoa had an up and down first three quarters that featured beautiful throws, drops, missed reads, and an absolute crusher of a safety. Then the fourth quarter began, and Dolphins fans started to recognize the kid they saw lighting up defenses in the toughest conference in college football.

Down countless receivers, running backs, offensive linemen and eventually his star tight end, Tua Tagovailoa led two touchdown drives that turned a disappointing blowout into a real football game. He was precise. He avoided pressure. Most importantly, he made every single throw. The rookie was unstoppable. In the belly of the beast, playing with a practice squad around him, against the defending champions after getting dominated for three quarters, he showed exactly who he is: a star quarterback in waiting.

Yes, he struggled early on but played his *you know what* off in that fourth quarter. Against all odds, he finished the day 28/48 for 316 yards, two touchdowns (and one rushing), to go with one interception. Keep in mind, there were multiple drops by his receivers, which is to be expected with the unit that was out there. Do not try and start that “He really wasn’t that impressive” song and dance today, because he rose to the occasion on the biggest stage at this point in his career. Sunday proved that the Dolphins have a quarterback; no ifs, and, or buts about it.

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Some of you don’t like him for whatever reason. I don’t care. Tua Tagovailoa is well on his way towards being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Look, if you don’t see it then you are either blind or lying to yourself. The kid is a budding star, whether that delusional section of the fanbase likes it or not. With some weapons and another off-season, the Dolphins won’t just be a playoff team next December, they’ll be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.