Tua Tagovailoa has another good game as the Dolphins move to 2-0 with a win over the Patriots | Albiseyler

Since the start of last season, Tua Tagovailoa has started and finished 13 games. The Miami Dolphins are 10-3 in those games. All three losses came against playoff teams last season.

Tagovailoa got off to a bit of a slow start to his career, although it wasn’t as bad as many thought. At the start of his third season last year, at the age of 24, he started to break down. This is a reasonable development.

But for some reason, there’s still a problem when it comes to giving Tagovailo his due respect and placing him among NFL quarterbacks. There’s always some qualification, some reason for people to hold back when it comes to praising Tagovailoa.

Here’s the truth: Tagovailoa is elite and the Dolphins are Super Bowl contenders. No qualifiers, except for Tagovailoa staying healthy. Still, the Dolphins won again with Tagovailoa in the lineup and completed another road test with a 24-17 win against the New England Patriots. Miami had to hold off in the final minute with New England in Dolphins territory, but no one is apologizing for any road win against a tough opponent. That’s two quality road wins to start the season, each featuring Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Hard stop. And if he plays like he did the first two weeks, he’ll be an MVP candidate.

Tua Tagovailoa has another big game

Everyone wants to keep reminding the Dolphins that they made a mistake selecting Tagovailoa over Justin Herbert, but did they? Tagovailoa has been more productive since the start of last season. And the Dolphins were better than Herbert’s Los Angeles Chargers. The only thing that lags behind is the narrative that, for some people, took place when Tagovailoa wasn’t an instant star out of Alabama.

The Patriots have become a bland, boring team, but they still have a fantastic defense led by Bill Belichick. Belichick can make life very difficult for quarterbacks, especially young ones. Tagovailoa was fine against the Patriots and on the road as a bonus.

On a day when Herbert couldn’t move the ball on the first possession in overtime against the Tennessee Titans, here was Tagovailoa’s first-half passing line: 15 of 20, 181 yards and a touchdown. That came after a 466-yard day in a comeback win over the Chargers in Week 1. His touchdown to Tyreek Hill just before the end of the first half put the Dolphins up 17-3. Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense wasn’t great after halftime, but it wasn’t the day the Dolphins needed him to gain 466 yards in the victory.

Tagovailoa may not have the cannon arm of some other superstar quarterbacks or the electric dual-threat ability of others, but he has tremendous accuracy in all areas of the field, a great understanding of where to go with the ball (namely to Hill, over and end) and fantastic anticipation. Those are also quarterback skills, and Tagovailoa is elite at them.

If you prefer a quarterback who can throw it through a brick wall, that’s fine. If you want a quarterback who can pile up yards, touchdowns and wins, Tua has quickly become that guy.

Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins had another big game in the win over the Patriots. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Miami’s defense is also playing well

Sunday’s win wasn’t all about Tagovailoa and the offense. Miami’s defense, which gave up too many points last week against the Chargers, was much better Sunday night.

Vic Fangio’s scheme will be good for the Dolphins. They kept everything in front of them for most of the game and didn’t allow many explosive plays. The Patriots offense looked pretty good last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, but had a big challenge on Sunday against the Dolphins.

The Patriots finally had signs of life late in the third quarter when they sent Brenden Schooler into motion and he timed his rush perfectly, passing and blocking a field goal attempt. But on the ensuing drive, Mac Jones threw an interception deep down the sideline to Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, and Miami held on for a 17-3 lead.

The Patriots scored to cut Miami’s lead to 17-10 in the fourth quarter, then Tagovailoa made a big mistake. He threw a short, deep pass to Hill, who was caught by Christian Gonzalez. Miami’s defense picked off their quarterback, got a sack and forced a quick three-and-out. Raheem Mostert ran for a 43-yard touchdown on the first offensive play after a New England punt to push the lead back to 14 points. However, the Patriots would not go away. They scored and the Dolphins made the ill-advised decision to attempt a 55-yard field goal, which missed. With just over two minutes and good field position, the Patriots needed a touchdown to tie.

The Patriots appeared to convert a fourth-and-4 on a wild unplanned sideline play from tight end Mike Gesicki to guard Cole Strange. Gesicki was short on first down and had nothing to lose, so he flipped it to Strange, who surged ahead. But a replay review showed Strange was short on first down and the Dolphins took possession.

It wasn’t always pretty in the second half, but it was a win. The Dolphins have gotten a lot of those with Tagovailoa lately.

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