The Miami Dolphins made history last night by extending their winning streak to 7 games after already amassing a 7 game losing streak. With that win, the Dolphins have put themselves into the best possible position when it comes to the playoffs: win and you’re in.
Miami’s defense has been playing lights out during this winning streak, feasting on opposing quarterbacks. The offense, for the most part, has been relatively consistent and has done enough to put up some points. A lot of that is due to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s play as he has generally proven an ability to move this offense and keep drives alive.
Over the first 6 games of this winning streak, Tagovailoa has played well. On Monday night, he was much shakier.
Tagovailoa finished the day 19 of 26 for 198 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception (stats courtesy of ESPN.com). These numbers aren’t much different from some of the other stat lines Tua achieved over this winning streak, but it came against an exceptionally depleted Saints roster. In this game, Tua should have been able to prove that he is capable of leading this offense to touchdowns, not field goals, and generating points that can keep up with some of the tougher offenses they are going to see in the next two weeks.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The measly 13 points that the offense put up on Monday isn’t all Tua’s fault. Even though the offensive line is playing a little better, they are still bad and there were a lot of moments where Tua had to dodge Saint defenders who were in the backfield instantly. Outside of Jaylen Waddle, Miami’s receivers didn’t do a great job of getting separation over the course of the entire game. The running game was also not great, again.
Yet, there were a few moments that were on Tua, notably his interception that killed a drive that could have put the game away.
On 3rd and 9, Tua tried to force the ball to Mack Hollins down the middle of the field. Hollins was double covered and Tua overthrew him, leading to the interception. The reason that this was one of the more frustrating plays Tua has made this year is because Waddle, by far his favorite receiver, was wide open for the first down basically right in front of Hollins. If Tua makes the right read, maybe the Dolphins can add more points to their lead. He didn’t, however, and Tua proved that he still needs to work on a few things to be elite in this league.
I have always been a believer in Tua and that hasn’t changed after Monday night’s game. His play needs context and those that are hyper critical need to remember the lack of talent along Miami’s offensive line and the inconsistent recieving corp (outside of Waddle. Give that man “Rookie of the Year” already). That being said, Tua does need to work on some things in order to take this offense to the next level, specifically reading the field and not trying to do more than is necessary to keep the ball moving. The defense won’t be able to bail this team out all of the time, especially with the Titans and Patriots coming up and Miami’s playoff hopes back on the line.
QB Grade: C-