Welcome back to Week 6 of the Tua Tagovailoa All-22 review. After a rough start, the Dolphins handled their business on Sunday, defeating the winless Panthers 42-21 at Hard Rock Stadium. 

Miami trailed 14-0 into the second quarter, but Tagovailoa and the rest of the offense woke up quickly after that. Tagovailoa finished 21 of 31 for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also didn’t throw a single interception. 

PFF’s charting isn’t live as of this writing, but we’d wager he also had a clean day in the turnover-worthy play department. 

Yeah, it was just another ho-hum afternoon for Tagovailoa. The Panthers didn’t challenge him much defensively, but he made several good throws worth discussing. 

Let’s get into it. 

Tua All-22 vs. Panthers

Signature Red Zone Throw?

In last week’s article, we discussed a play where Tagvailoa rolled out to his left in the red zone and threw a perfectly placed ball to Jaylen Waddle for a touchdown. 

It was important because, historically speaking, that hasn’t been a strength of Tagovailoa’s game. Well, we’re having déjà vu because, conceptually speaking, this throw from Sunday is roughly the same. 

This throw is harder because Tagovailoa has to throw it across his body and to the receiver’s inside shoulder. He avoids the Edge, who wasn’t entirely fooled by the play fake and delivers a pin-point strike to Waddle. 

What’s funny about this play is that Tagovailoa’s first read is Tyreek Hill in the flat. Hill is open for a much easier pitch and catch, but it doesn’t seem like that’s where Tagovailoa’s eyes are at any point in the play. 

If Tagovailoa didn’t make an impressively accurate pass, we’d lament him for making a bad read. Instead, we’re praising him for his accuracy. That’s just the kind of season it’s been for Tagovailoa. 

Deep Shots

One area of Tagovailoa’s game that sometimes remains underwhelming is his deep shots. He hits the easy ones, which is already an improvement from last season. This deep ball to Waddle falls into the “measured aggression” category we’ve talked about so much this year. 

Waddle runs a vertical route at the top of the screen, and Hill runs a crosser at the bottom. This concept accomplishes the same thing as a conventional “dig” concept. 

One player clears out space with a vertical, and another runs underneath with the dig route. Hill is open, and Tagovailoa could’ve hit him for a big play. 

However, Tagovailoa sees that Waddle gets advantageous leverage on the defensive backs. The other safety was in half-field coverage at the bottom of the screen. 

Tagovailoa knows Waddle will blow by two defenders into some open space, so he tried to jam the ball in before Sam Franklin can get across the field to make the PBU. Unfortunately, Franklin beats the ball there and makes an excellent play at the catch point. 

The ball isn’t badly underthrown, and there’s a realistic chance Waddle can make a play down the field. Was this a perfect read? No, Hill was open for an easy completion. However, Tagovailoa was hunting for the big play and took a reasonable risk. 

That mentality was missing from his game for a long time. It didn’t work out on this play, but we’re not opposed to seeing Tagovailoa let similar passes rip this season. 

Here’s the deep ball he did complete on Sunday. It’s becoming a weekly occurrence where Hill gets one rep in press coverage and just smokes the defensive back for a big play. 

There’s nothing overly interesting about the throw itself. It’s about as easy as vertical shots down the field get. What is worth mentioning is Tagovailoa’s deceptive eyes. 

He starts to his left, which holds the safety on Hill’s side from gaining depth down the field. Full disclosure: it probably wouldn’t have mattered, but it’s still high-level quarterbacking from Tagovailoa. 

The critical thing to note is that Tagovailoa is hitting more vertical layups this season. He was underthrowing these passes in 2022, and that’s not the case this season. 


It wouldn’t be a Tagovailoa breakdown without some impressive anticipation throw in the middle of the field. This was probably the best throw Tagovailoa made all day for our money. 

Per usual, the Dolphins do a lot of pre-snap window dressing to get into one of their core concepts. This time, it’s shortened orbit motion from Salvon Ahmed with a PA fake to get a bang post to Waddle. 

The Panthers don’t bite too hard on all that pre-snap motion. The key defender is No. 41 at the bottom of the screen. He stays in the throwing window fairly well, forcing Tagovailoa to make a perfect throw between three defenders. 

Of course, he does, but Waddle didn’t come up with the catch. This window is incredibly tight because of the deep safety firing downhill. It was a perfect throw, and it’s a shame Waddle didn’t come down with it. 

Hospital Ball

This is probably the only pass from Sunday’s game we have a genuine gripe with. Tagovailoa just put way too much touch on this pass to Ahmed. This pass probably needed to go into the dirt or out of bounds. 

He set up his own man to take a big hit in a game the team was winning by multiple scores — there’s no reason for it. This ended up being Tagovailoa’s last passing attempt of the game, as he was replaced by Mike White soon after. 


There’s not much to take away from Tagovailoa’s performance on Sunday. The Panthers — like the Giants — hardly posed a real challenge. Still, it’s on Tagovailoa to go out there and play well, which he did on Sunday. 

He took what the defense gave him, hit his layups, and didn’t make any boneheaded turnovers. It’s not his fault the Panthers are bad. 

The cupcake schedule ends this week, though. The Dolphins travel to Philadelphia to play the 5-1 Eagles in primetime on Sunday night. The Eagles’ defense isn’t quite as dominant as last season, but it’s much better than many of the teams Miami has faced this season. 

Philadelphia’s secondary is banged up, but its defensive line is similar to the Buffalo Bills’ line that gave Miami fits earlier this season. 

Next week’s game is a gut check for Tagovailoa and the Dolphins. Unlike the Panthers and the Giants, the Eagles should at least put up a fight on defense. Let’s see how Miami responds.