In a must-win game to get into the playoffs, Tua Tagovailoa had, by far, his worst game of the season which helped end Miami’s playoff hopes.
The 2020 season is officially over for the Miami Dolphins. Entering Sunday with a “control your own destiny game” against their division rival the Buffalo Bills, Miami hoped to put together a strong performance across the board and go into the playoffs with some positive momentum.
That didn’t happen. In fact, yesterday’s performance was as close to a dumpster fire as a team could get.
Instead, Miami was trounced by Buffalo 56-26 and it wasn’t even that close. Miami could do nothing to stop the Bills’ offense and Miami’s offense continued its year-long struggle to move the ball effectively and score touchdowns instead of field goals.
Some of the offensive struggles on Sunday were squarely on Tua Tagovailoa, who threw a career-high 3 interceptions on top of 361 yards and a touchdown (stats courtesy of ESPN.com). Under Tagovailoa, the offense, once again, came out flat and failed to produce a meaningful drive until the second half, where it was too little too late.
More importantly, Tagovailoa seemed to take a step back in this one. He didn’t look sharp at any point in the game and made some poor decisions and throws that resulted in costly turnovers.
His first interception on the day wasn’t necessarily his fault as DeVante Parker fell down at the top of his route. That happens sometimes and can be forgiven. The second was a bit more on Tagovailoa, as he mistimed his throw that bounced off of Lynn Bowden’s hands and was intercepted off the tip.
His third interception, however, was all on him. He completely misunderstood the route Mike Gesicki was running and threw it right into the hands of Dean Marlowe. Interceptions aside, Tagovailoa still looked off in this one but started to make some positive plays in the second half.
Tagovailoa is definitely responsible for some of the offensive struggles, but it shouldn’t fall all on him.
On the other side of things, the play calling in this one, specifically in the first half, didn’t help Tagovailoa in any way. The consistent reliance on option plays coupled with end-around and that very simple 10-yard curl on every third down attempt didn’t help because eventually, a team will figure out what you’re trying to do.
More from Phin Phanatic
- Tua Tagovailoa practicing with teammates is everything a leader does
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
Once the team started to let their rookie QB throw downfield, they experienced some success on offense. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome the turnovers and abysmal performance by the defense to even come close to sniffing a victory. This lack of creative play calling was not new for Miami but helped kill just about every offensive drive and needs to change if they want Tagovailoa to have any success in Miami.
At the end of the day, Tagovailoa is still a rookie and everyone who is concerned about his play needs to remember that. He still has tremendous upside and with quality weapons and more creative play-calling, could absolutely be the franchise quarterback for this team for the next decade.
Games, as we saw from Tagovailoa on Sunday, were bound to happen in a rookie campaign and while it came at a terrible time, there is still a lot to be excited about with their rookie.
Week 17 QB Grade: F