Dolphins Need to Keep Foot on the Gas – Tua Time

The Dolphins welcomed back old friend Adam Gase and his group of misfits from New Jersey to the tune of a 24-0 shutout on Sunday. This game was never in doubt as the Jets continued to look like a team better suited for a league such as the XFL. Ryan Fitzpatrick got off to a hot start throwing for 3 early touchdown passes, and it was clear Miami wouldn’t need to do much more to secure a victory in this one with Joe Flacco leading the putrid offensive charge for New York. 

Though Miami took care of business and handily won a game they were supposed to win, there were some discouraging signs from the offense in the second half. Through 6 games, the Dolphins have had trouble closing games and keeping their foot on the pedal and that was the case against the Jets. Miami took a 21-point lead into halftime and came back out with seemingly no interest in scoring more points. Here’s how the second half went on offense for the Dolphins under Fitzpatrick:

  • 3 plays, 7 yards – Punt
  • 3 plays, 3 yards – Punt
  • 8 plays, 52 yards – Field Goal
  • 3 plays, 8 yards – Punt
  • 1 play, 0 yards – INT
  • 3 plays, 7 yards – Punt

Fitz finished the second half with a line of 4/9, 44 yards, and a pick. Miami also failed to convert on third down for the entire game until Tua Tagovailoa debuted in his first NFL game and completed a pass for a first down with about 2 minutes left in the game. 

So, while Fitz has played up to a formidable level this season, the team has still looked limited and faulty at times. Enter the #5 overall pick in the 2020 draft, the man who they claim possesses the left arm of God, Tua Tagovailoa. Miami will roll out the rookie for his first NFL start against the Los Angeles Rams in week 8 following their week 7 bye. 

The currently 4-2 Rams have featured the 4th best-ranked defense in the league against the pass, as teams have averaged just 209 yards per game through the air when facing Los Angeles. While the Aaron Donald led Rams defense may feel like an intimidating task for a rookie QB in his debut, the Dolphins clearly feel Tua is ready to go. The offensive line has been a major bright spot for this young Miami team, which is playing a major role in Tua’s takeover. Brian Flores can feel comfortable putting Tua behind this line – something we weren’t sure we would see in 2020.

What should we expect from #1 for the rest of the season? If Tua is as advertised, then the Dolphins’ offense should become much more lethal and less error-prone than under Fitz. Sure, there will be some growing pains, but this is officially his team now. The majority of Miami’s offensive weapons have remained healthy thus far, giving the rookie QB plenty of options to work with on day one.

Miami enters the bye with a point differential of +47, good for 6th-best in the NFL, and has been hot as of late. Some people were wondering why Flores would choose to bench Fitzpatrick after 2 straight wins, but to me, it makes perfect sense. The early-season kinks have been worked out, the Dolphins are humming right now, and adding Tua to the mix only fuels the excitement and hope for this team going forward. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a fantastic mentor for Tua to learn from thus far, and no one will be pulling for the rookie harder than the Bearded Wonder. 

All Aboard The Tua Train.