Happy holidays, everyone. We hope your Black Friday was filled with deals and selective blindness when watching the New York Jets’ offense.

The Miami Dolphins picked up another win in Week 12, thumping their division rival in a one-sided affair. The victory propelled Miami to the AFC’s No. 1 seed (before the weekend) and an 8-3 record. 

As for QB1, Tua Tagovailoa completed 70 percent of his passes for 242 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. It wasn’t Tagovailoa’s best game by any means, and he wasn’t asked to do much in the second half (eight pass attempts). 

Let’s dive into the film and see if Tagovailoa’s underwhelming stats are anything worth worrying about. 

Tua All-22 vs. Jets

Vertical Placement

One of the most significant strides Tagovailoa has made this season is making precisely this type of throw. Last year, Tagovailoa had a habit of underthrowing vertical routes, forcing Miami’s smaller receivers to make difficult plays at the catch point. 

Those underthrows left a lot of meat on the bone for Miami’s explosive offense. The throw above is perfect. It’s in-stride, placed right on the outside shoulder, and thrown with excellent timing. 

The Dolphins don’t get much man coverage, so they have to make the most of the reps where they do. Pre-snap, Tagovailoa saw man coverage across the board and found his best matchup — Tyreek Hill in the slot against D.J. Reed. 

Reed is a good cornerback, but leaving him on Hill with no safety help and a two-way go is a recipe for failure, and Tagovailoa made the Jets pay. 

Tagovailoa hit a similar throw to Jaylen Waddle, who was covered by Sauce Gardner later in the game. Again, the ability to threaten on these vertical shots makes the Dolphins all the more dangerous and more challenging to defend. 

Teams could live with the Dolphins trying to win vertically last season because those are low-percentage throws, and Tagovailoa’s placement on them was inconsistent. 

This is a massive improvement in his game that hasn’t been talked about enough in 2023. 

Dropped TD

There’s a lot to talk about on this drop. This is one of Tagovailoa’s best throws of the season. It’s reminiscent of his game-winner vs. the Los Angeles Chargers, but the window for this pass is tighter. 

His throw against LA takes the cake because of the game situation, but again, this throw is an absolute dime into the corner of the endzone. 

Unfortunately, Hill couldn’t quite bring it in. To make matters worse, it was fourth down, so the Dolphins left points on the board. 

There’s been a lot of conversations about the Dolphins short-yardage play calling this season. It’s fair to say the team should probably run the football more in those spots. Coach Mike McDaniel does appear to overthink some of those scenarios.

This is probably one of those times. Goal-line fade is one of the worst plays you can call in any situation, let alone fourth down. It’s a low-percentage throw intended to go to players much bigger than Hill. 

With all of that said, this ball hit Hill in both hands and should’ve been a touchdown. Miami ended the day converting 11 of 16 third downs, so they don’t have a third-down problem. 

It’s just in those short-yardage spots. It’s easy to blame the playcalling, and improvements must be made. However, the Dolphins’ execution hasn’t been good either. 

The problem is twofold. It’s not just the play calling. In any event, this was a great throw by Tagovailoa. Please stop calling goal line fades. It’s 2023. Enough with that. 

The Floater

This is one of the throws between good and bad. Off live viewing, it looked like Tagovailoa got incredibly lucky threading the ball into the tight gap. With the All-22 angle, Tagovailoa’s process becomes a little more defensible. 

For starters, it’s a wonderfully placed football near the sideline, making it difficult for the safety to make a play on the ball. Also, it’s thrown with great anticipation. Tagovailoa shows prudent pocket movement and gets the ball out before Waddle is out of his break. 

On the other hand, there’s next to no juice on this pass. Despite the solid placement, it’s hard to believe the Jets’ safety whiffed on knocking this ball down. 

So where does this land? We will lean positive for one reason — Tagovailoa is being aggressive. He’s trying to make a big play and push the ball down the field. This one is encouraging because it comes outside the scope of the offense. 

The timing is knocked off, and Tagovailoa has to throw on the move. Those are two things he’s struggled with in the past. Let’s get more juice on the throw next time, okay? 

The Interceptions 

It’s not worth spending much time on the “why” behind Tagovailoa’s two INTs from Friday. They’re both relatively easy to explain. 

The pick-six is just a bad decision. The Jets are in a quarters look with four deep defenders and three underneath. Tagovailoa doesn’t want to drive the bang posts from Hill and Waddle with the safeties driving downhill. 

That’s not a bad process, but it is a bad process to throw the flat late. The Jets’ slot CB is sitting in zone coverage with his eyes on the QB the whole time. This mistake is QB101 stuff, and Tagovailoa just goofs and throws the ball anyway. 

The second one is even easier to explain. The No. 1 rule when throwing the ball toward the sideline is to put the ball outside. That makes it almost impossible for the cornerback to make a play on the ball. 

This throw is late and poorly placed on Hill’s inside shoulder. Tagovailoa just missed this one. 

So What? 

Last week, we spent a good deal of time defending some of Tagovailoa’s interceptions. These are not the type of interceptions to defend. This isn’t blind trust in the offense or a great player trying to make a big play. 

These are just bad. 

Tagovailoa does tend to make a few mistakes like this occasionally. It’s odd because he’s such a cerebral quarterback who lives and dies by his ability to anticipate better than everyone else. 

Every quarterback makes dumb mistakes, even the elite ones. It’s less about “if” they happen vs. “when” they happen. It’s fair not to worry about Tagovailoa making these mistakes against a Jets team fielding a high school offense. 

However, these are the plays you can’t make against better teams or in playoff scenarios. We haven’t seen Tagovailoa in the former yet, but assuming he doesn’t make these mistakes in big spots, the sky isn’t falling. 


Tagovailoa is in a bit of a lull right now. The passing offense isn’t bad, but it’s not quite firing on all cylinders. Still, the Dolphins are taking care of business by beating the teams they’re supposed to beat. 

Tagovailoa is still playing “well,” making most of the plays and throws we’ve become accustomed to. The reality is each season has its ebbs and flows. The same can be said about quarterback play. 

It would be concerning if Tagovailoa was struggling to do the things he’s been good at or starting to regress in the area’s he’s improved. That’s not the case here. 

With that said, the Dolphins, including Tagovailoa, are sometimes careless with the ball. Some of his interceptions are part of the game, but this week’s inexcusable. 

These interceptions will quickly fade into the background if it doesn’t become a trend. Let’s see if Tagovailoa can break out from two straight mundane performances against the Washington Commanders in Week 13.