Football is a team game and teams lose and win because of how their team played but on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins lost because of Tua Tagovailoa.
Point your fingers everywhere else on the team if you want. Tell yourself the Dolphins lost because the team as a whole didn’t play good enough to win. I’m going to tell you the Dolphins lost because Tua Tagovailoa didn’t win the game when he needed to win it.
If the Dolphins drove down the field and Tyreek Hill fumbled the ball on the 2 yard line, we would say that was the reason Miami lost. If the next series Jeff Wilson fumbled on the two, again, that is a reason why we lost. You see where I am going with this. Tua is the reason this team lost on Sunday.
Fans want you believe the whole “We lost as a team” mantra. They cite the following.
- 93 yard kick-off return
Yes, this was horrible. But guess what? Miami only lost by six points and this return only produced 3 points for the Packers. Maybe if the Dolphins had lost by three points or less, this might be a reason but it also happened on the first Packers series of the game. No, this had no effect on Miami losing the game.
- Raheem Mostert fumbles
The fumble was not good. It happened at the 50-yard line with Miami leading 20-10. The Packers would get a field goal out of the drive and pull within one score. It’s hard to say what would have happened had Miami retained possession but it’s possible we score in some way to extend the lead but the Dolphins, at this point, still were leading after it occurred.
- Jason Sanders missed field goal
I think we are all tired of Jason Sanders and his inconsistencies but his missed field goal didn’t hurt the Dolphins on Sunday. Miami’s defense held and in fact, intercepted Rodgers to end a potential scoring drive after getting good field position. Yes, the score would have given Miami a cushion but there was still a lot of game left.
- The Defense once again played poorly
Miami struggled again to get quality pressure on Aaron Rodgers and their pass rush is not very good at finishing. Bradley Chubb has been a huge disappointment but did they lose the game?
Miami’s defense, however, wasn’t bad on Sunday. They held Rodgers to 238 yards and one touchdown and didn’t allow the Packers run game to get more than 79 yards and 18 of those were on the legs of Rodgers. In addition, the Dolphins defense forced the Packers into a 14% 3rd down efficiency.
But to look at this even deeper, following Tua’s first INT that was a one play drive giving the Packers the ball at the Miami 37, the Dolphins defense held them to 3 points.
Following the 2nd Tua interception, the Dolphins defense again held the Packers to just three points on a 4:00 minute drive. Miami was down only by six points with 2:00 minutes left in the game.
Tua’s third interception gave the Packers the ball with 1:29 left in the game and all they needed to do was kneel down.
Yes, the defense gave up a first quarter TD drive to the Packers and another one to start the 3rd quarter that tied the game
- Mike McDaniel again abandoned the run
Miami’s run game put up over 70 yards rushing in the first half and finished the game with around 82. Again, McDaniel gave up too early on something that was working very well. The Dolphins could have controlled the clock, the tempo, and field position. Miami could have opened passing lanes and forced the Packers to play tighter on the line. Instead, they played back.
McDaniel’s play calling was suspect but the execution was far more the problem for why the team lost.
- Tua is the reason Miami didn’t win, not the reason they lost
Combine all of the above together and you could argue that the Dolphins lost because the defense game up 26 points (two TDs). You could argue that combined with the special teams play didn’t help and the fumble by Mostert potentially killed a scoring drive to end the half.
What you can’t dispute is the fact that Tua had not but three chances to win the game in the fourth quarter. Three possessions and only a six point deficit. Tua couldn’t lead the Dolphins down the field. He didn’t throw three tipped passes or into tight coverage. He threw to three wide open defenders on three consecutive drives.
Dolphins fans, me included, love to poke fun at Mac Jones and Zach Wilson and we have all made light of the fact that Josh Allen has thrown a lot of interceptions over the last seven weeks. We say the Patriots can’t win because Jones is horrible and the Jets are not going to win with Wilson at QB but when it comes to the Dolphins, it’s everyones fault, not just Tua’s. Guess what? On Sunday, the Dolphins lost a game but Tua had more than enough opportunity to win it. And he didn’t.