Welcome back to this week’s All-22 review. The Miami Dolphins got back on track with a Week 5 blowout of the lowly New York Giants, moving the Dolphins record to 4-1. 

For his part, Tua Tagovailoa played well enough to allow Miami to keep and maintain a multi-score lead for much of the game. He completed 22-of-30 passes for 308 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. 

However, this was probably Tagovailoa’s worst film of the season. Not because he was “bad” on Sunday but because he’s set such a high standard for his play this season. 

Let’s dive into the film to see the good and the bad of his Week 5 performance. 

Tua All-22 vs. Giants

Creating Touchdowns

Let’s start with the best play Tagovailoa made on Sunday — his touchdown to Jaylen Waddle. In this weekly column, we’ve talked about Tagovialoa’s improved play outside the pocket. 

In fact, it’s become the unlikely theme of this whole thing. This play is another excellent example of Tagovailoa’s continued growth. This is a routine play in the grand scheme of quarterback evaluation, especially for the league’s elite. 

However, for Tagovailoa, this play was off the menu for the first three years of his career. Last season, this ball was thrown into the dirt or out of bounds as Tagovailoa was dragged down from behind. 

The placement on this throw is what stands out. Tagovailoa puts the ball high and away, allowing Waddle to go up and get it without involving the cornerback. He did while being pursued by two defenders in the red zone. 

This isn’t a touchdown, but it’s another example of Tagovailoa creating when things don’t go according to plan. The plan gets messed up when left guard Isaiah Wynn oversets, allowing immediate pressure in Tagovailoa’s lap. 

To his credit, Tagovailoa has always been good at avoiding pressure like this. If he weren’t, he would’ve been out of the league already. While avoiding pressure, he does an excellent job keeping his eyes up. 

He knows Hill is running the in-breaker to his right, but he also sees the linebacker sitting directly in that throwing window. So Tagovailoa makes a veteran play and continues to scramble forward, forcing the LB to move. 

Once that happens, he delivers a strike and creates a positive play. The defense won on this play. They got immediate pressure and should’ve had a sack around the 1-yard line. 

But Tagovailoa turned a negative play into a positive one, the way a top-10 quarterback should.

Head Scratcher

Alright, enough praise. Let’s discuss why this might’ve been Tagovailoa’s worst performance of the season. This red zone interception defies all logic. No version of this ends with a completion. 

The Giants are sitting in zone coverage, and Waddle is running a stick at the goal line. It’s a pretty common red zone situation. Tagovailoa has threaded some pretty tight windows in this area of the field before. 

Heck, before this INT, he had thrown 38 red zone touchdowns without a turnover. To say this throw in this part of the field was uncharacteristic of Tagovailoa is an understatement. 

In the conclusion section, we’ll cover this more, but Tagovailoa has become a little reckless this season. 

Here’s another head-scratcher from Tagovailoa. Why throw this pass? It’s another late, high throw into the middle of the field, which has become a bit of a theme this year. 

If you pause the video when Tagovailoa is winding up, you’ll see the window he’s trying to fit the ball into. However, he would need Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen’s velocity to hit that window. 

Tagovailoa knows that, so he tries to float it over the top into a window that doesn’t exist. 

Some will point to the second interception he threw on Sunday as the more concerning play. It’s pretty clear Tagovailoa hit his hand on Connor Williams’ helmet, which is what caused the overthrow. Those plays happen and shouldn’t be held against Tagovailoa. 

The first interception and this throw to Tyreek Hill are Tagovailoa trying to force the ball into windows that don’t exist. It’s the downside of all the confidence he’s gained in his playmakers and offense. 


One of the things Dolphins fans have come to appreciate about Tagovailoa is the way he rebounds after throwing an interception. 

Sunday was no different. On the drive following his red zone pick-6, Tagovailoa drove the Dolphins down the field to steal three points before the half. This throw stood out because of where Tagovailoa’s eyes started at the snap. 

He starts to his right, quickly diagnoses that nothing will open up, and then comes back to his left with a bullet into Waddle’s numbers. This is great timing and process. 

This ball had some excellent velocity on it, too. This is the benefit of trust in the offense. Tagovailoa knew where Waddle was supposed to be and threw it there without a second thought. 

On the next play, Tagovailoa made this throw to Cedrick Wilson (forgot he was on the team), allowing the Dolphins to get into chipshot field goal range. 

There’s nothing crazy about this read or decision, but the placement on the outside shoulder is impressive. The cornerback is playing with inside leverage at the snap. That makes sense because the Giants want to protect the sideline. 

Wilson’s running an in-breaking route, so Tagovailoa’s back shoulder throw accomplishes a few things. One, it leads Wilson away from taking a big hit. Two, it also leads him toward the sideline. 

This is some of the small stuff quarterbacks must do to maximize each throw. Tagovailoa did it on this drive and throw. 


Frankly, it was challenging to write this article this week. The Dolphins’ passing game was a passenger aided by an elite run game and possibly the second-worst defensive gameplan we’ve seen. Vance Joseph isn’t off the hook yet, but it was close. 

Even Tagovailoa’s long TD to Hill had more to do with the Giants’ poor defense than anything Miami did. That’s not to take anything away from Tagovailoa. He still had to make the throw, but there’s not much to write about. 

As for the interceptions, it’s crucial to identify that Tagovailoa does tend to throw some bad ones. Besides his second INT from Sunday, all the ones he’s thrown this season have been head-scratchers. 

That said, the trade-off on those INTs is probably worth the pain they cause. His redzone INT comes from confidence in himself, his playmakers, and the offense. 

We’ve discussed “measured aggression” vs. arrogance in this column all season. Elite quarterbacks must be aggressive but not so aggressive they become turnover machines. 

The reality is that it’s one of the most challenging lines to walk. Aggression will lead to turnovers. Some will be Tagovailoa’s fault, and others won’t. Obviously, you’d like to avoid the easy mistakes like the ones he made this year. 

But playing aggressively is what’s led to Miami having one of the best offenses through five weeks in NFL history. It also led to Tagovailoa’s ascension in most quarterback rankings. 

We should keep an eye on Tagovailoa’s head-scratching INTs, but it’s important to remember that without risk, there is no reward.