The Dolphins’ season came to a brutal end on Sunday. Miami was blown out by their divisional rival, Buffalo, in a must-win game that would’ve gotten them into the playoffs. Instead, the loss combined with a Jacksonville loss to the Colts put Miami on the outside, despite a 10 win season. 

There will be months to discuss what all of this means and how Miami should handle the offseason. I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I will review what we saw from Tua and Sunday and then switch to offseason mode later. 

Let’s start with some of the good stuff before we get into some of the bad stuff. The narrative that Tua’s playmakers don’t help him really came home to roost this Sunday. Miami dropped somewhere between 8 and 11 passes, depending on your definition of drops. 

This play came right before the half and probably made me the angriest because this is the type of playmaking I want to see more from Tua. You need to reward plays like this. 

He gets outside the pocket to his left, where he doesn’t have a lot of options, but he’s able to throwback to his right to Gaskin. If Gaskin catches this, he’s probably able to turn upfield and help the Dolphins get into the FG range. Sadly, he dropped it, which ended up killing the Dolphins’ drive.  

When Tua first got the starting gig, one thing I thought he struggled with was throwing these deeper verticals. He tended to put the ball on the wrong shoulder a little too often, especially to Parker. 

These two seemed to have ironed things out in this area because they hooked up a couple of times against Buffalo. Tua comes to the line and sees he’s got a single high safety with man coverage on the outside. This is the perfect time to throw the ball up to your best matchup. 

What’s important about this throw is he puts it on the sideline and not on the outside shoulder. This allows Parker to locate the ball, flip his hips, and high point it away from the CB, who really doesn’t have any chance. This is Tua throwing a WR open, by the way. He’s capable of doing it in these situations. He needs to do it more often in the middle of the field, though. 

An area where Tua needs to improve most is his anticipation over the middle. He’s shown flashes, but it comes and goes a little much for me. This par for the course with a rookie QB, but he will have to improve on this offseason if he wants to take the next step.  

Chan Gailey calls a really nice play to beat the Buffalo zone. They were dropping the LBs into coverage pretty much the entire game, specifically in the second half. The route to Gesicki is a perfect beater against this coverage. 

Tua shows good anticipation to throw this in the gap between the defenders. Now, I think this play does raise some concerns about the arm strength. This ball floats on him just a tad, which leads Gesicki into the FS, capping off the defense. If he throws more of a line drive here with some more zip, Gesicki might’ve been able to catch it and turn upfield. 

Instead, he gets led into the FS, who makes an easy tackle. This also allowed him to make a play on the ball. Thankfully, Gesicki is the only pass-catcher who remembered how to catch on Sunday. 

This is the first of Tua’s INTs where a receiver didn’t just randomly fall. Buffalo comes out with a single-high safety but move into a two-high look post-snap. He gets pretty solid protection on this play, especially considering the Dolphins standards for such a designation. 

The three receivers at the bottom of the screen are where we should focus. We’ve got a comeback on the outside, a slant in the slot, and a nine route down the seam from the flex spot. Bowden is running the slant, and he actually wins at the top of his route. He creates a good amount of separation with his outside step and then quickness getting across the face of the CB. 

Tua sails this throw over his head, which leads to the INT. I’m not really sure why he missed on this one. It simply got away from him; it seems like. Now, there is also a conversation to have about the read on this play. Bowden is open, that’s true. However, Gesicki running this seam buster against cover-2 might’ve been a touchdown if Tua put it on him in stride. 

This is similar to the throw Tua missed against the Raiders. It’s a little different, but it’s the same basic concept that you should attack the middle of the field against two-high safeties. This read isn’t “bad,” but it’s not the best read on this play. 

Either way, this INT is 100 percent on Tua. He just flat out missed. 

This is the second INT that came directly after the one I highlighted above. Tua makes, essentially, the same mistake on this one too. He throws the ball too dang high for Gesicki, which is hard when you remember he’s gigantic and has one of the best verticals for a TE in the history of the NFL combine. 

On the bright side, I think Tua made the correct read this time. The Bills again showed single-high presnap and then rotated to more of a two-high look post-snap. This time the LB didn’t carry or drop into coverage, leaving a pretty big hole to attack in the middle of the field. 

Gesicki runs right into the open space for what should’ve been a relatively easy completion for a big play. Instead, the ball sails on Tua to the point where Gesicki doesn’t even really bother to jump. 

This stuff is super uncharacteristic of Tua going back to his days at Alabama. If he did throw an INT, it’s because he’s trying to do too much or because he didn’t have the arm strength to fit a tight window. Rarely did he blatantly miss open receivers this badly?  



Over the past couple of hours, many people have been Tweeting at me to ask what my total thoughts on Tua are after year one. It’s difficult to narrow down, and drawing definitive conclusions is difficult because of the lack of help Tua received. I might have a broader piece on this after I take some time to digest the season. 

Here is my short response to those asking. Tua was “fine.” There were enough flashes to where you could see a bright future, but there are also undeniable places he needs to get better. Mike Remmer of PFF said it well the other day when he said, “compared to Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, Tua’s season looks bad. But when compared, historically, to most rookie seasons, it doesn’t look too bad.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point. 

I’ve seen enough not to be in panic mode yet about Tua. He needs to process faster and get better at reading defenses. He needs to find a better balance between being safe and aggressive too. 

However, his accuracy, flashes of playmaking ability, clear command over a limited playbook, and winning attitude all point to potential as a franchise passer. Dolphins fans still need patience.