Sunday was fun, huh? Welcome back to our weekly Tua Tagovailoa All-22 review. This week, we’ve got the Dolphins 70 — yes, 70 points in an NFL game — 20 win against the Denver Broncos to examine. 

Although the Dolphins became just the fourth team to score 70 points in a game, the last being Washington in 1966, Tagovailoa was merely a cog in the machine on Sunday. 

That’s not a negative on him at all. Instead, it’s just a product of how dominant Miami’s offense was. Tagovailoa attempted a season-low 26 passes and didn’t really play in the fourth quarter. 

It was akin to his time at Alabama. He threw for a clean 300 yards and four touchdowns as the Crimson Tide blew out Southern Miss or whoever. However, this time, it was an NFL game against an NFL opponent — insanity. 

Despite the low volume, there is plenty of good stuff to discuss this week. Let’s dive into the All-22 and see what it says about a historic Dolphins performance. 

Tua All-22 vs. Broncos

Showtime Tua

We have a rule here. Any time the franchise quarterback makes an underhanded no-look pass for a touchdown, we break it down, whether there’s a ton to talk about or not. 

This play is less impressive than it is cool, but it’s probably the coolest thing a Dolphins quarterback has done in two decades, so it’s worth talking about either way. 

The play starts with Tyreek Hill running “orbit motion.” Theoretically, he’s supposed to run behind Tagovailoa to the other side of the formation. Miami uses this motion a lot. Meaning teams have to respect it. 

Credit to a few of Denver’s defenders because they’re not overly fooled on this play. The middle linebacker (#49) stays home, and the defensive tackle (#98) gets off his block and contacts De’Von Achane before the endzone. This play would have gone nowhere if Achane hadn’t made such an excellent individual effort. 

What makes this worth discussing on Tagovailoa’s behalf is the trust it requires to make this play. He’s literally not looking at the defense. For all he knows, his guard lost at the snap, and that pitch is about to float into the arms of a defensive tackle. 

There has never been more trust between a playcaller and quarterback since the Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa. You can see it in the creativeness of the offense. That trust opens the door to try goofy plays like the one above. 

Too Easy

Sometimes, the other team makes it too easy. Tagovailoa’s first touchdown pass wasn’t the no-look shovel to Achane, but this wide-open throw to Hill. 

How did Hill get that open? Well, the Dolphins used team’s preconceived notions about the offense against them. 

The Broncos play Cover-3 on this snap. One safety goes deep, while the other motions down almost into a robber-role. The Broncos know the Dolphins, specifically Tagovailoa, like to attack the intermediate middle of the field. 

Miami runs Robbie Chosen across that area of the field, causing the robber-safety to bite downhill. It’s eye candy in its finest form. However, Hill runs a deep crosser right into the vacated space, allowing him an easy catch-and-run opportunity. 

Tagovailoa checks Chosen in the middle of the field, makes sure the safety came down and then delivers a perfect strike. 

Anticipation Sill Rules

Accuracy is widely regarded as Tagovailoa’s best trait, and there’s certainly a good argument for it. That said, his anticipation in the middle of the field is an outstanding contender for that title. 

This throw combines his all-world anticipation with his patented manipulation of second-level defenders. The player to watch here is the linebacker at the top of the screen. The Dolphins are running one of their core play-action concepts. 

There’s a flat route with an in-breaker. Watch the linebacker take just two small steps to his left toward the flat route. Then, watch the ball go right by his head and into the arms of Hill. That’s all it takes for the Dolphins to generate an explosive play. 

Why? Because Tagovailoa throws with elite anticipation on these concepts. Watch him flash his eyes and hips to the flat, forcing that linebacker to move. Then, watch him snap his hips and fire the ball into that gap. 

This throw can’t be made without a complete understanding of where Hill will be, and it’s just routine for Tagovailoa at this point. This is another example of trust. This time, it’s the quarterback and wide receiver. 

Off-Script Improvement

Tagovailoa’s ability to make plays off his first read has been a theme of this year’s breakdowns. Coming into the season, it was one of the biggest things holding him back from ascending in the NFL’s quarterback rankings. 

This season has been different, and Sunday’s performance continued that trend. Tagovailoa wasn’t forced off his first read a ton against the Broncos, but this play stood out in that arena. 

When he takes the snap, he starts to his left. He’s watching the post route from Chosen and the backside over route from Durham Smythe. However, Terron Armstead gives some ground off the snap, forcing Tagovialoa’s eyes backside and his feet unset. 

There’s no panic in his game as he resets and delivers a strike to Hill, who was running the backside dig route on this play. This ball is so perfectly placed it would’ve hit Hill right in the facemask if he didn’t catch it. 

In previous seasons, Tagovailoa would’ve struggled to make that adjustment. He would’ve gone into panic mode and tried to escape the pocket. But there’s no panic mode this season. 

Instead, he just resets and delivers a perfectly placed bullet to his third read, crossing into an incredibly tight window because of the deep safety coming downhill. 

This was easily the best throw Tagovailoa made on Sunday. 


As mentioned above, Tagovailoa wasn’t asked to do much this week. In previous seasons, that would’ve been used to discredit Tagovailoa. 

That’s not the case this year. Tagovailoa didn’t do much because he didn’t need to. The running game produced 350 yards and five touchdowns, and the defense forced multiple turnovers. 

Last season, the Dolphins were only as good as Tagovailoa played. That’s not an odd place to be in. Most NFL teams have that relationship with their quarterback. However, it was especially apparent in Miami because of just how bad the offense looked without him. 

This year’s team is playing complementary football. They have a diverse, potent running game. While the defense is a work in progress, they don’t have an effort problem and have created key turnovers back-to-back weeks. 

The Dolphins are an offensive juggernaut, and it’s not all on Tagovailoa’s shoulders. When the team plays terrible opponents — like the Broncos — Tagovailoa doesn’t have to be Superman for Miami to win games. That’s good because he’s not Superman — most quarterbacks aren’t. 

None of this is to take any credit away from Tagovailoa. He’s been among the NFL’s best quarterbacks through three games. Here’s a list of stats Tagovailoa ranks first in: 

Yards per attempt, success rate, passer rating, total QBR, net yards per dropback, sack rate, and EPA per play. 

His 0.58 EPA per dropback is the second-best three-week stretch since at least 2000. Tom Brady’s mark in 2007 is the only one better. 

Tagovailoa is also second in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Looks at how he ranks in efficiency compared to the NFL’s other passers: 

That’s all pretty dang good. 

A three-game sample size isn’t enough to crown a quarterback elite. It must be an entire season and carried into the playoffs, too. However, Tagovailoa has gotten better. He’s taken the step everyone wanted him to. It’s just the question of how long he can sustain it. 

By the looks of it, there’s no reason to doubt it will be a long time.