Alabama in the Pros

Tua Tagovailoa outlasts Justin Herbert, leads Dolphins to its sixth win of NFL season

Tua Tagovailoa throws a pass in warmups before facing LA Chargers
Jasen Vinlove - USA TODAY Sports

The Hawaiian fever has hit the Dolphins and it feels good in South Florida.

He defeated Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals last week, but Tua Tagovailoa went head-to-head against one of his peers from this year’s NFL Draft class. Despite quite a few media pundits talking up Justin Herbert, it was Tagovailoa who outlasted the former Oregon standout on Sunday. He continues to balance Miami’s offense and is getting stronger at creating plays outside the pocket. Tagovailoa completed 15 of 25 passes — 60 percent — for 169 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers in a 29-21 win for the Dolphins over the Los Angeles Chargers at Hard Rock Stadium.

Brian Flores not only saw his quarterback get a third straight win as a starter, he also continues to witness the accuracy on short to intermediate passes that Tagovailoa has. Aside from two throws, the former University of Alabama standout led receivers and tight ends with passes on target. He showcased precision passing on the run, while being able to escape sacks.

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Eight of his 15 completions resulted in either first downs or scores.

During his sophomore year at Alabama, Tagovailoa’s first touchdown pass as a starter came on a broken play to Jerry Jeudy in a matchup versus the Louisville Cardinals.

He is still able to turn disaster situations into promising endings, especially with the calm demeanor he exuded on a throw to DeVante Parker on third down. Tagovailoa handled a low snap, got his eyes back on his target and fired a rope toward the sideline. Parker helped out his rookie quarterback with a catch for a first down.

Regardless of him being an offensive skill player, Tagovailoa learned about defense from Nick Saban.

After a bad center to quarterback exchange in the red zone, he ran down a Charger defender and made the tackle.

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Since getting his first career start against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 1, Tagovailoa has five touchdown passes and no interceptions. He has the Dolphins on fire, as the franchise is on a five-game winning streak and carries a 6-3 record.

Some people counted him out after the hip injury in 2019, but Tagovailoa has returned strong.

He is one of the reasons behind the change happening in Miami and fans are really excited.

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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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