It’s week 17 and the stage is set for Dolphins @ Titans, after a season that seemed dead somehow the Miami Dolphins had caught fire, winning 7 straight games and making history by being the first team ever to do so. Some called it pure luck, some called it meant to be, others called it lightning in a bottle. But in typical Dolphins fashion when it matters most and when the stakes were highest… they folded, in the process Tua Tagovailoa’s limitations were exposed vs the Titans.
The final scoreboard that shows Dolphins 3 – 34 Titans would make you think this was a complete dominance by Tennessee from start to finish, but what if I told you that up until there was 7:44 left in the 4th quarter the Titans only had 17 points? That is impossibly great considering how the offense constantly put the Dolphins defense on a short field, or have no rest due to the offenses inability to stay on the field. Or a combination of both.
The Miami Dolphins fall to 8-8, ending their win streak. Their season also comes to a screeching halt as this loss officially eliminates Miami from playoff contention.
Tua Tagovailoa vs the Titans:
18/38 (47%) – 205 Pass Yds – 0 TD – 1 INT – 53.1 Passer Rating
The weather was horrendous yesterday on a field that had been ran through already during a bowl game two days earlier, but that still doesn’t excuse this bad of a performance. When the weather gets rough and passing the ball can turn into an issue a QB is forced to use their physical ability to make things happen, whether that’s going off script to escape a collapsing pocket, or turning into another weapon by trying to run the ball.
Tua was not able to do that and when forced to try to make chunk plays with his arm he was 7/20 (36%) on pass attempts of 10+ yards or more according to Next-Gen Stats. Horrendously bad, Tagovailoa was already playing a little suspect in the past 2 games but I reserved judgement due to the fact that Flores is very conservative, and he usually tries to protect even the smallest of leads with a bit of run game and strong defense.
But this time there’s no excuse, this was the game I had bookmarked since early December as the real test. And it was tough to see this team be able to compete on every side of the ball except offense.
What went wrong on offense vs the Titans?
At times it’s better to cool off and let your emotions out before going back and checking the tape, sometimes it doesn’t look as bad later on, not this time. Let’s take a look at the last offensive snap in every drive from yesterdays game.
(If you want to watch all the clips attached to this thread make sure to follow me on Twitter @3rdnJuan via the link below, can’t post them here.)
To watch the videos attached to each drive listed below click here
For the majority of the first quarter both defenses were keeping the other team away from the end zone, but after the Titans finally broke through and scored, Tua Tagovailoa fumbled the ball as he was going into throwing motion and lost grip. A back breaking mistake putting your defense back out with no rest on a short field.
The defense somehow held the Titans to only 3 points that drive.
3rd &1: Offense sets up for QB sneak and Center Michael Dieter fumbles the snap.
3rd & 10: Big facepalm because why are we attempting to run on 3rd & long?? Dolphins punt with about 10 minutes to go in the second quarter, when the Dolphins get the ball back next drive the clock is almost at the half and the Titans have another TD on the board.
3rd & 10: Must have drive before the half where your QB has to be sharp, Tua throws inaccurate and behind Parker. Your QB has to live up to the 70% completion percentage he was putting up previously when it matters most. This wasn’t the case.
Now I understand that up to this point Tua has played very poorly but why is the play call on 3rd & 1 (1st clip) a deep ball to Waddle when Miami only needs a yard? Horrific play calling in this instance to waste the drive, luckily roughing the passer was called after Brissett got blasted and the drive lived on.
But not for long 3rd & 9: Pocket collapses and doesn’t give Tua a chance, sacked. Dolphins OL had held up great on big downs up till that point.
3rd & 11: Bad miscommunication between Parker & Tagovailoa ends up being a throwaway ball.
4th & 11: Horrific missed PI not called on Parker. This was the only drive killed by a bad call from the refs.
After this the game was pretty much over with about 5 minutes left, the Titans proceeded to running up the score after this. The Dolphins never found life, and end their season with a bitter taste in their mouth yet again.
(Don’t forget to watch the clips I described by clicking here)
The shocking reality:
Throughout the last 2 years many have argued on whether or not Tua Tagovailoa is a franchise QB, whether he has the “it” factor, whether the lack of athleticism was relevant or not. Yesterday we all realized Tua is not built to play in rough weather, doesn’t have the arm for it. We realized Tagovailoa can’t rely on athletic ability to make things happen when having a bad game, like Josh Allen did yesterday. But most importantly we realized that Tua so far is not capable of stepping up in the big moment.
Tough games in January is where legacies are built.
When the expectations were highest and competition was the most fierce Tua Tagovailoa folded, it’s as simple as that. Some of the play calling was extremely questionable but we must realize that the coaching staff was going unorthodox to try and give the offense a spark when their QB wasn’t able to.
It’s tough and trust me I gave Tua my vote of confidence earlier, he had been great against inferior competition but I never took credit away because that is still performing against NFL caliber talent. That being said he had been struggling ever since the bye week, didn’t play his best vs the Jets but Duke Johnson saved the day. Didn’t play his best vs the Saints but the defense was lights out, and the Saints shut out Tom Brady as well so that gets a pass I guess. But week 17 was it, this was the game where you show the world you’re a franchise QB and shut up the noise around you.
Instead the performance put on tape was so putrid that I would not at all be surprised if QB controversy going into 2022 becomes a reality (if it already isn’t one).
I won’t say it’s time to run him out of town already but moving forward its tough to say that I’m not extremely concerned for what’s going to happen with the QB position going into 2022. I’m open to giving Tua another shot but we have to bring in some competition since he has 1) struggled to stay healthy. 2) not played up to standards. Or we can replace him completely to try to sign a big time QB.
Either way is fine with me, but drastic changes are necessary going into 2022.