The Miami Dolphins played an all-around solid game against the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday night to the tune of a 37-17 win at Hard Rock Stadium. Tua Tagovailoa played the entire first half and finished the day going 16-23 for 183 yards and 1 TD. Jacoby Brissett also had a nice night and continues to show that he is a quality backup for this roster.
As is the case for the entirety of the upcoming season, all eyes will be firmly focused on Tua Tagovailoa’s mastery of the offense and success in putting up points when his unit takes the field. On Saturday, Tagovailoa put together a quality performance that showed the progress he has made this offseason and what this offense has in terms of potential.
After a forgettable preseason debut, Tagovailoa started this game against Atlanta red hot, going 8 for 8 until he threw a ball a bit too low for his new/old favorite target Jaylen Waddle. He only made a few mistakes in this one and had the offense cruising during his time on the field. A lot of his throws were short routes or tosses to running backs in the backfield, but it’s important to remember that Tua didn’t have a few of his top weapons in this matchup.
During his first drive, Tagovailoa looked poised and confident in what he was seeing on the field. He got some help from Myles Gaskin, who capped the drive off with a touchdown run, but Tagovailoa’s play was excellent. During the second drive, Tua continued his hot streak, remaining patient, stepping up into the pocket to avoid pressure, and making good decisions. One of his best decisions on the night was choosing to not force the ball into tight coverage and running for a first down himself. Those types of plays are keys to quarterback success in the league.
Tagovailoa cooled off a bit for his third drive, which ended up resulting in a failed 4th down conversion but was able to maneuver the offense into field goal during the last drive of the half which ended up being missed by All-Pro Jason Sanders.
If Tua’s progression in his second preseason game is a sign of things to come, the young quarterback could have a solid season for the Dolphins.
The most important takeaway from this game was that Tagovailoa looked more than comfortable behind center and didn’t let the pressure from the Falcons’ defensive line get to him, no matter how many linemen were in his face. He had zip on his throws that we didn’t see last year at times and the coaches weren’t scared to call plays downfield for him, another massive criticism of last season’s offensive scheme.
At the end of the day, this is still a preseason game and there is no doubt that Tua still needs to work on a few things as we get closer to the season. But, this matchup was a great step in the right direction that shows a glimpse of what is capable with Tagovailoa at the helm of this offense.
QB Grade: A-