Alabama in the Pros

Tua Tagovailoa outduels Kyler Murray again for second NFL win

Tua Tagovailoa slips away from Cardinal defenders
Matt Kartozian - USA TODAY Sports

The front office of the Miami Dolphins made the right move and they know it.

After getting his first career win in the National Football League over the Los Angeles Rams, Tua Tagovailoa is starting to feel more comfortable at quarterback. The former Alabama standout and No. 5 overall pick got his second start on Sunday versus Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals.

In the first meeting between these two, the native Hawaiian got the better of Murray in a 2018 College Football Playoff semifinal game.

He tossed for 318 yards and four touchdowns, in leading the Crimson Tide to a 45-34 victory over Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl at HardRock Stadium.

With two exciting, young quarterbacks, the fireworks were on display.

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Tagovailoa had both his arm and legs at work in a 34-31 win over the Cardinals.

Brian Flores, Dolphins’ head coach, saw his rookie quarterback be accurate with the ball.

He completed 20 of 28 passes for 248 yards with two scores and no turnovers.

Eleven of Tagovailoa’s completions resulted in either first downs or touchdowns, and he stretched the field on numerous plays. As a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2018, he had some throws that were reminiscent of his excellence under Nick Saban.

Alabama trailed by 13 points (13-0) against Georgia in the 2018 CFP National Championship Game, when Tagovailoa entered the contest to start the second half. He brought an energy to the team and Tide fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and led the program to a 26-23 win in overtime to capture a national championship.

The same magic occurred in Sunday’s game for the Dolphins.

Miami was down 31-24 late in the third quarter, but Tagovailoa took the team on a 93-yard drive in 10 plays.

He completed passes to DeVante Parker and showed off his athleticism on the run, while the drive ended with an 11-yard scoring strike from Tagovailoa to Mack Hollins. The former five-star tied the game on that drive, but gave the Dolphins the lead on a possession that ended on a made 50-yard field goal from Jason Sanders.

For the first time since Jeff Rutledge in 1987, Alabama football has a quarterback who has won its first two NFL starts. Rutledge achieved the feat with the New York Giants.

Both Tagovailoa and Murray will be entertaining for years to come, but Tagovailoa took his moment.

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He is showing everyone that he is back from the hip injury and is electric with a football.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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