Tua Tagovailoa remains undefeated as an NFL starting quarterback as he leads the Dolphins over the Chargers
Everyone was used to seeing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa make incredible plays on Saturdays a year ago for the Alabama Crimson Tide. However, he has moved on to the big leagues and has now started the last three games for the Miami Dolphins.
Tagovailoa is undefeated as a starting NFL quarterback through three games, thanks to a 29-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night.
Of course, after the Sunday win, he started off talking about the rest of the team, because that’s just who he is.
He told reporters, “I think today was a great team win. We ran the ball really well, big shout out to our o-line. …We had a lot of opportunities from the defense as well, and I think the special teams did a really great job, so just a great team effort.”
However, Tua played very well himself, and his leadership and ability was the real story of this game.
The quarterback looked just like his old self before his hip injury in college. The rookie completed 15-25 passing for a 60% completion percentage against the Chargers. He threw two touchdowns and zero interceptions on the night to cap off a great performance.
While he has the ability to make plays on his legs, he averaged -.02 yards a carry against the Chargers on Sunday. The most important thing for him to become a successful NFL quarterback is not his legs, but how well he can throw the ball.
He is showing that he can throw the ball at the highest level.
Against the Arizona Cardinals last week, he threw 20-28 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, by far his best performance to this date.
When Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was asked about Tua’s performance in Sunday’s game against the Chargers, he said, “I haven’t watched the tape, but it seemed like he made some pretty good decisions. It looked like there were some throws there that he got into some tight windows.”
The main thing Tua has shown through his first three starts with the Dolphins is his leadership ability. He has earned the respect of his team as just a 22-year-old rookie. The locker room is behind him, which some thought might be difficult considering how well quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played in the opening games of the season.
His leadership is seen by Dolphins teammate wide receiver Jakeem Grant, Sr., who had this to say about Tua when asked if he was like a point guard on the football field: “He is a quarterback, and he is the leader of the team while we are out there. Guess what? He gave me a couple of assists and gave a couple of assists to Devonta.”
Tua is just such a likable and humble player, and that seems to have helped him earn the respect of his teammates.
A lot of the respect and cohesion with his teammates actually comes from practice, according to Tua.
“I’d say I’m comfortable, but a lot of that starts from practice,” he advised. “Just being able to talk with our center Ted on Thursdays going over our protections.”
He continued, “Being able to talk to our o-line about what I am thinking and then hearing from them what they are thinking. Then hear find out what our receivers are thinking. … It starts from practice and then translates to the game.”
The Miami Dolphins are 6-3 so far this season with a five-game win streak started by Fitzpatrick but continued by Tagovailoa. This season has been one of the best starts for the Dolphins since the early 2000s, and a big part of that is because of Tua.
The Chargers were also playing with a rookie quarterback, Justin Herbert, out of Oregon. Herbert has had an amazing start to his career as well by putting up good numbers for a rookie quarterback. It was Tagovailoa who came out on top this week, though.
The rookie quarterback had plenty of skeptics in the preseason thanks to a hip injury near the end of his college career. Yet, it is easy to see that the injury is all behind him now.
Saban even said before the draft that he hoped the Dolphins wouldn’t “pass on Tua, like we did on Drew Brees.” This refers to when he was coach of the Miami Dolphins and did not sign Brees because of an injury. Brees has gone on to have a stellar career and will likely end up in the NFL Hall of Fame.
When Flores was asked if he left this game feeling like he made the right decision in drafting Tua, he stated, “We have a lot of confidence in all our draft picks that they are going to develop and improve. He is no different.”
Flores then added, “That’s what we are trying to do, develop and improve and take it week to week…We aren’t going to talk about any player and say hey you have arrived, and you have done it. Nobody has all the answers, I certainly don’t. It starts with me, and hopefully, we really improve at every position including the quarterback.”
The Dolphins are happy they didn’t pass on Tua, and the Crimson Tide faithful are glad to watch Tua succeed on Sundays.
For any Bama fans wanting to watch him play as a pro, the former Tide star plays the Denver Broncos next this coming Sunday at 3:05 p.m. CT.
Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: email@example.com or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.