The first Sunday of the 2021 NFL season is over, and the Miami Dolphins are 1-0. Miami travelled to Foxborough to play their division rival New England Patriots and narrowly escaped with a 17-16 victory. Dolphins star cornerback Xavien Howard forced a fumble and recovered it with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter to ice the game. While it wasn’t necessarily a pretty win, in the NFL, every win is a good one. The main storyline in this game was the two former Alabama Crimson Tide teammates and quarterbacks going at it for the first time. Mac Jones, in his first career start, looked pretty comfortable and did not make many mistakes. He finished 29 for 39 with 281 yards and a touchdown, giving Patriots fans something to look forward to since the departure of Tom Brady. For Dolphins second year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, it was a mediocre performance, but did get the Week 1 win.
Grading the Performance of Tua Tagovailoa in Dolphins Week 1 Win
Pedestrian But Effective
Tagovailoa finished 16 for 27 with for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but he did add a rushing score as well. These are no jaw-dropping numbers to say the least, but he did his job, and looked like he had more control of the offense. The RPO (run pass option) was a big part of the Dolphins offense, especially on their opening drive. Tagovailoa played the short game all day, playing it safe and not forcing any throws.
— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021
Having Tagovailoa run the option keeps defenses on their toes, as he is not known for his speed, but it’s a big factor in his game. Speaking of speed, rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle, who played with Tagovailoa at Alabama, had a great NFL debut. The sixth-overall pick had four catches for 61 yards, including a 36-yard reception. Waddle has the potential to be one of the most dynamic players in the league. He also scored the first touchdown of his NFL career on a three yard pass play, capped with a dive for the pylon.
JAYLEN WADDLE. @AlabamaFTBL WRs stay elite 💪
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 12, 2021
Tua Tagovailoa Week 1 Grade: B
Tagovailoa’s performance could have been much better, but also could have been much worse. Throwing for 200 yards on 16 completions isn’t bad, but his interception was one he wishes he could have back.
For the first game of the season though, it looks like Tagovailoa is heading in the right direction. It was only Week 1, and he should continue to improve as the season plays on. The offensive line is something that is a big worry for the Dolphins right now, and has been an ongoing issue. It is definitely the team’s biggest weakness and something that has to be fixed. If the line can hold up, and Tagovailoa continues to improve week after week, Miami will be in great position to make the playoffs this season.
They currently have a one game lead in the AFC east as the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets also lost their opening games. The Dolphins will look to go 2-0 next week as the Bills come to town for Miami’s home opener in another important division game.
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