Tua Tagovailoa arguably played like garbage for much of the game on Sunday. His first half was atrocious and his second half, while better, included a pick six. The Dolphins still won.
It is easy to point your finger at the stifling defense that kept the game in reach until Tua led the drive to take the lead. You could also say that the Dolphins defense gave up 17 points to the Jets too. Regardless, both sides of the ball stepped up when they had to.
Looking at Tua there is a couple of things that stand out but the one I can’t get out of my head was the atrocious pick six. Not that he threw it. All QBs at some point in time will make a boneheaded play, Tua made his in the 4th and let the Jets back in the game tying it up.
What sticks out to me is what Tua did after the interception.
Tua could have folded up and let the INT get in his head. He could have engineered a three and out and the Dolphins could have just run the ball. Instead, Tua took the first snap of the next drive and hit Mike Gesicki for 9 yards. He would throw two more incompletions on the drive before hitting DeVante Parker for an 11 yard score.
Great quarterbacks know how to shake off mistakes. I’m not saying that Tua is great, not yet but there are signs that he can become that. He doesn’t have to be perfect. Despite his off game, he still completed 75% of his passes. He still threw two touchdowns to his two interceptions. He kept his team moving.
The second thing that sticks out to me was his run in the 3rd quarter for nine yards. He could have chosen to slide and he probably should have but he showed leadership instead. He showed that he was going to fight with his teammates for every inch. He lowered his shoulder and bowled over Michael Carter, III, for another yard. It was a defining moment that ignited the crowd, and his team. The series would culminate in a TD pass to Christian Wilkins.
The Dolphins found a running game on Sunday with Duke Johnson and there is a legit argument that the running game played as big of a role in the Dolphins victory as Tua did and I won’t disagree with those who think that. The game was on the legs of Johnson but when Miami needed their QB to step up, he did. When they needed him to get out of his own head, he did. Tua turned a bad day into a victory and that is a pretty good sign of what kind of QB he could eventually become.