The Miami Dolphins won their first preseason game, with a 37-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons. In what was an encouraging performance, two players particularly stood out. These were quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and linebacker Sam Eguavoen.

Tua has built on a promising game against Chicago with a solid performance, whereas Eguavoen recorded more sacks in this game than his entire NFL career. These were the two standout players amongst a Dolphins team that showcased their talents against an albeit weakened Falcons team.

Tua Continues To Look A Different Quarterback

Miami Dolphins, Tua shine vs. Atlanta Falcons in NFL exhibition

I am very aware that this is the preseason and that the Falcons’ first team would struggle against the Dolphins, let alone the second or third team players. However, it cannot be ignored that Tua looks like a far more confident quarterback.

During this game, he threw for 183 yards and one touchdown. He also completed 16 of his 23 attempts, giving him a 70% completion rate. Unlike last week, he didn’t throw an interception. Tua found some nice early passes to both Jaylen Waddle and Myles Gaskin, who had success in rushing and receiving. He scored Miami’s first touchdown, rushing the ball into the end zone in Miami’s first drive.

As well as throwing the ball, Tua had his moments on the ground. Most notably, earning a first down after an 8-yard run on 2nd and 3.

Tua once again looked comfortable in the pocket under pressure, managing to find Jakeem Grant and Salvon Ahmed with some accurate throws. He would then look towards the two players that have been his favorite two targets this preseason. He found Mack Hollins and Mike Gesicki with plenty of power as he drove the Dolphins down the field.

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After Tua evaded some pressure to find his running back, this drive would end in a receiving touchdown for Gaskin. Gesicki would once again be involved in Miami’s next drive. With 3:54 left of the second quarter, Tua found his tight end on a seam route. Tagovailoa looked at ease and comfortable when making this throw to the former Notre Dame tight end in a 30-yard gain.

Tua’s night would then be over as backup Jacoby Brissett earned some reps. He got some love from fans after the game due to what was a confident performance.

Eguavoen Prevents Himself From The Cut

Dolphins LB Sam Eguavoen had a career night against Falcons | Miami Herald

Linebacker Sam Eguavoen’s Dolphins career had failed to really take off. He was undrafted in 2015 and spent three seasons playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL. He was signed by Miami in January 2019. During his two seasons in the NFL, he has recorded 40 total tackles and just 3.5 sacks. He has started a mere seven NFL games in a Dolphins jersey.

There would have been genuine concerns from the Eguavoen camp that he could face the cut after a lackluster 2019 and 2020. However, his eleven total tackles and four sacks against Atlanta may help him keep a spot in the 52 man roster.

There was no preseason last year. Plenty of players missed their chance to impress. Eguavoen certainly made the most of his opportunity against the Falcons. After getting a sack post-two-minute warning in the second quarter, he continued this momentum into the third. There was one particularly impressive stage from him, midway through the third quarter. Falcons backup QB A.J McCarron managed to escape out the pocket, scrambling towards the right. He was met by Eguavoen, who fiercely tackled him behind the line of scrimmage. Less than a minute later, he would burst out of the trenches and takedown McCarron for a safety.

The Dolphins will hope to finish on a high against the Cincinnati Bengals with just one preseason game left. Can Tua continue to improve? Will Eguavoen further gain a stranglehold on a place in the 52 man roster?