Coming into the 2023 season there was concern for the long-term health of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. So far, he has been able to silence those questions as he is off to a blazing start for the 3-0 Miami Dolphins.
Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa is Sizzling: Off to a Hot Start
In his first start for the Miami Dolphins in the 2023 season, Tagovailoa led the Dolphins to a comeback victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Tua was 28/45 for 466 yards. He threw for three touchdowns against one interception. Maybe more importantly, he seemed to silence some of the critics and pundits who have asked whether or not the Dolphins made the right choice in drafting Tagovailoa one pick before the Chargers took Justin Herbert (fifth and sixth overall) in the 2020 draft. Tagovailoa followed up this effort with a 21/30, 249-yard effort, in a week two win over the New England Patriots. Tagovailoa threw for a touchdown and an interception in that game. And, of course, Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins did some unspeakable things to the Denver Broncos, pummeling them by a final score of 70-20.
Why Some Still Question Tua Tagovailoa
The obvious answer is that it is an extremely small sample size (three games). Additionally, what he endured last season was scary and some critics are not convinced he is any safer now than he was last season in terms of the chances of suffering another concussion. Yet, some people live a life of always seeing the glass half empty and have made up their minds that this is nothing more than a couple of decent games out of a player who has been in the league three seasons and has not done much, a la former first-round pick and Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.
In three games, Tagovailoa played well in both appearances via two very different strategies. In the win against Los Angeles, the Dolphins running back corps combined for 15 carries and 65 yards. In Week 2 against New England, Raheem Mostert alone had 18 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Two very different approaches, yet both yielded winning results.
In Sunday’s contest against the Denver Broncos, Sean Payton had no answer for Miami’s aerial or ground attack. Miami shattered just about every yardage record imaginable, as Tua Tagovailoa completed 23 of his 26 attempts for 309 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions, and he did it all without Jaylen Waddle. Having Mike McDaniel and Tyreek Hill definitely makes life easier, but this level of dominance wouldn’t be possible without a great quarterback under center.
The Dolphins Finally Have Their Franchise Quarterback
Fans and the Dolphins front office have to like what they have seen from Tagovailoa so far. There are no guarantees in life, and that is especially true in the realm of professional sports. It is important to remember that though it seems Tagovailoa is all alone and the fate of the Dolphins weighs upon his shoulders, the reality is football is still a team sport. Acknowledging the play of his teammates, especially Tyreek Hill and Raheem Mostert, has helped take a lot of pressure off of Tagovailoa, no one can argue that he has done what he needs to do for the Dolphins to win. The hope is that along with his teammates, everyone can continue to play at a level that leads to the Dolphins continuing to win. So far, Tagovailoa appears to be doing just that.
Tua Tagovailoa has led the Miami Dolphins to a 3-0 record so far this season. Some critics still question his health and whether he is the answer to the Dolphins quarterback puzzle of the last 24 seasons. While the haters continue to hate, Tagovailoa has done what he needs to do to help the Dolphins win games; mainly not turning the ball over. Whether he can continue his stellar play is not something that can be guaranteed. However, thanks in large part to the play of his teammates and his own hot start, Dolphins fans want to believe Tua can and will do just that.
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