Tua's All-22 Breakdown vs the LA Chargers as the Dolphins won 29-21

All-22 Breakdown: Tua vs the Chargers

The Dolphins are now an improbably 6-3 team who is slowly becoming the darlings of the NFL. Sunday’s win against the Chargers was the team’s fifth in a row and the third in a row for our franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tua’s latest conquest was over fellow 2020 first-round pick, Justin Herbert. This spurred a lot of hot takes from Dolphins fans claiming Tua as the GOAT and throwing Justin Herbert into the trash heap. 

Let’s dive into Sunday’s All-22 and see if these claims are legit or if Dolphins’ fans are off their rocker. 



The first throw of the game ended up being one of Tua’s best. Not only that, but it established a trend of the Dolphins throwing out of heavy personnel, specifically 13 personnel (1 Rb, 3 TEs), which could’ve been the gameplan all along or a reaction to losing Preston Williams to IR. Either way, it worked quite well throughout the game. 

This play is a simple PA boot to the left with a deep over route by Mike Gesicki and a route in the flat for Salvon Ahmed. Easy high-low read with very little need to go through progressions. 

Conventional wisdom tells you to throw the ball into the flat here. Generally speaking, the Chargers LBs don’t fall too hard for the fake and are in an okay position to cover up Gesicki. However, Gesicki does a great job separating from his man when they try to pass him off, giving Tua a nice throwing window. 

For Tua’s part, he does a great job not settling for the flare route and keeping the play alive in the hopes Gesicki can get himself open. Tua delivers a perfectly placed ball both with the touch to get it over the underneath defender and enough zip to fit in before the roaming safety can make a play. 

This is great quarterbacking. Maximize every play you can and be aggressive at the right times. 



There is a lot of great things going on with this play. Let’s start with the obvious. DeVante Parker is a tremendous jump ball receiver with elite levels of body control in the air. The athleticism required to stop on a dime like this and redirect your momentum up into the air to make this catch is nuts. 

Okay with that out of the way, let’s talk about why this is such a good play by Tua. Firstly, this is a horrible snap from Karras (wouldn’t be the last one either) which forces Tua to drop his eyes and scramble to pick up the ball. 

Tua shows absolutely zero panic. He picks up the ball and delivers an accurate pass down the field for a big play. When you hear evaluators talking about “poise” this is the kinda stuff they are talking about. How do you perform under chaos? Well, Tua is quite good in the chaos which goes back to his college days at Alabama. 

The other important part about this play is the read he made. The Chargers come out in a 2-high safety look, but the SCB is coming on a blitz, and he gets replaced by one of the safeties post-snap. The other safety then rotates back into a Cover-1 look leaving Parker in 1v1 coverage on the outside with no help coming over the top. 

Tua saw this presnap which is why he was able to throw to Parker without much thought after the bad snap. At the very worst he knew he would be giving his best receiver a chance in 1v1 coverage. 



There isn’t a ton to breakdown here, but I think this is a good example of the big picture when it comes to Tua’s future. This timing route to Grant is Tua’s bread and butter. He thrives on presnap reads that allow him to throw with anticipation and accuracy. Most quarterbacks like that are limited, but we’ve already touched on Tua’s ability to make plays when things breakdown around him. 

This is an RPO as well. The lineman pull out to the second level as if they are ready to block on the potential handoff. Another thing to note here is the velocity on the throw. I think this is the most velocity Tua had on a pass against the Chargers, and he definitely needed it. 

Again, not a lot to breakdown in this play. However, the three plays you’ve seen already are a pretty good microcosm of what Tua’s strengths have been through his first three starts. 



Throughout the articles, I’ve done on Tua I haven’t highlighted any mistakes he’s made. Both the Rams game and the Cardinals game were pretty clean. This game was fairly clean too but some limitations did pop up. 

Tua’s never been known for his arm. Outside of his hip injury, his arm strength was the biggest question I had about him coming from Alabama. 

Here the Dolphins are again running play-action out of 13 personnel with Gesicki running a deep crosser from Tua’s left to right. The play-action was to the left which pulls the eyes of the defense to the left as Gesicki is crossing the formation to the right. 

Essentially, this is a throwback play. This is a tough throw for sure, but Gesicki is open for a big play. Tua just doesn’t have enough juice to make this throw from across the field. Tua is fantastic but there are some throws he just won’t be able to make at times. 

This pass hangs up in the air too long allowing the LA defender to come and make a play on the ball. Again, this is a hard throw. It doesn’t mean Tua is bad or that he played poorly on Sunday. However, the entire field is not open to him at all times given his natural arm talent. 



In my estimation, this is Tua’s first truly bad read + throw through his first three starts. 95 out of 100 times this is an interception. In fact, this is something I would expect from Ryan Fitzpatrick instead of Tua. Fitzy was the master of throwing the ball directly into the hands of LBs dropping into zone coverage. 

Miami tries to run PA out of a multiple TE set again but this time LA isn’t even remotely fooled. The LBs drop into zone right off the snap without even a thought. Tua tried to look off some defenders by starting to his right, but when he came back left he fired the ball without thinking. 

I know this ends up as an incompletion, but if Kenneth Murray could catch at all this is an INT. Tua was relying on the PA and look off to move defenders but there is no point in this play where either of those things happens. 

He needed to eat this one and live to fight another day. It worked out this time, but the odds are it won’t work out the next time. The second time, Tua’s gotten super lucky bailing him out of an INT. 




The question I posed at the beginning of the article was whether or not Dolphins fans are crazy for saying Tua is definitely better than Herbert. My answer to that is, actually, yes they are. 

Tua was definitely better than Herbert on Sunday there is no doubt about that. However, there are simply not enough data points on either play to make a definitive claim about their future success, especially for Tua. 

I think Tua will be better, and I thought Tua was better during draft season. With all of that said, if you want to be a Dolphins fan rooted in reality and not someone just merely talking out of passion then let’s give it until next season before we crown the winner. 

Because the reality is: both of them are good.