Tua Didn’t Need To Be The Hero
November 1, 2020, was supposed to be a day filled with fireworks as Tua Tagovailoa was getting his first NFL start. Fans had thoughts of his days from Alabama where he was throwing for 4 touchdowns in a game and leading his team win the college championship as a true freshman. Those ideas had many Dolphins fans excited to see Tua start at QB for the first time in 351 days and this time in a Miami Dolphins jersey. Perhaps the expectations had been raised with the stellar play of fellow first-round rookie QB’s Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, but everyone was excited to see Tua get this start. But with this 28-17 victory over the Rams, Tua didn’t need to be the hero on this day.
In his first-ever NFL start, Tua went 12-22 for 93 yards and 1 TD. Nothing about that stat line screams success, but there are multiple things to consider when looking at this game though. It was his first start in 351 days, his first start in the NFL (against a good Rams defense) with no preseason games. With two rookie offensive lineman going against arguably the best player in the NFL in Aaron Donald as well. But most importantly the defense and special teams dominated this game. Tua was never able to get into a rhythm extending drives or throwing for 300 yards because it simply wasn’t needed.
?NEW? @DolphinsTalk.com POST GAME WRAP UP SHOW: Dolphins Rock Rams. We break down Tua's first start, the big Dolphins win, and Mike has a Rant on some people in the National Media who are still criticizing the @MiamiDolphins even after this win. #FinsUP https://t.co/CRCMVAplzJ
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) November 2, 2020
The defense forced 4 turnovers on the day and one of which Andrew Van Ginkel returned 78 yards for a TD. Another fumble Kyle Van Noy returned to the Rams 1 yard line. Special teams also got involved with Jakeem Grant returning a punt 88 yards for a TD which was the longest punt return in team history. In total, the Dolphins offense held the ball for just over 9 minutes in the first half jumping out to a 28-10 lead. It’s hard to get into any sort of rhythm being on the field that little.
More importantly, Tua didn’t need to be the hero. He didn’t need to throw 4 touchdowns or to put the team on his back. That is exactly why Brian Flores chose now was the time to start the rookie quarterback. This team isn’t in need of a quarterback to carry the team. It is a very well rounded football team that can rely on its dominant defense to hold opposing teams to an average of fewer than 19 points per game.
With an upcoming stretch of games that all seem very winnable, it seems Flores made the correct decision starting the rookie quarterback. Putting confidence in his defense to lead the way and carry Tua while he gets his legs back under him will pay dividends later in the season. If Miami hopes to make a push for the playoffs or even the division, yes Tua will need to play better. As for now though, Tua is 1-0 as a starter in the NFL and that is all that matters. Next week presents a new set of challenges for this team as they travel to Arizona to play the Kyler Murray led Cardinals. Let’s hope the defense continues its dominant play and Tua can have another easy win, but if he needs to step up I have all the confidence that he will do just that.