Alabama in the Pros

Tua Tagovailoa was impressive against Patrick Mahomes in a close loss to the Chiefs

Tua Tagovailoa in the pocket about to throw a pass for Dolphins versus Chiefs
Jasen Vinlove - USA TODAY Sports

Brian Flores has the right quarterback in Miami.

He just needs to draft pieces around him.

Patrick Mahomes has been involved in some close games in his young career for the Kansas City Chiefs, but his matchup against Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday was too close for comfort.

Both players are represented by Leigh Steinberg and an entertaining rivalry will be there for years to come; however, Tagovailoa got the Super Bowl champion to play with a sense of urgency.

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In his fourth start for the Dolphins, the former University of Alabama quarterback had a career-high 316 passing yards on 24 completions (48 attempts). Tagovailoa made some off platform throws, he threaded the needle on a few passes, and fired two scoring tosses to Mike Gesicki.

Seventeen of his 24 completions — 70.8 percent — went for either first downs or touchdowns.

Even on his first career interception, Tagovailoa put the ball in the hands of Jakeem Grant.

The receiver could not hang on to the pass, and it bounced into the hands of Tyrann Mathieu of the Chiefs. Tagovailoa would also account for a rushing score and paced the Dolphins to five more first downs (27-22) and more total plays (77-61) than Kansas City, but the Chiefs are a dangerous team.

Without his No. 1 receiver, DeVante Parker, Tagovailoa led the Dolphins on a pair of touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.

The native Hawaiian gave his best effort and hung with the best young talent in the National Football League, unfortunately the 2017 College Football Playoff National Champion suffered a 27-33 loss. He witnessed only four defeats in his time with the Crimson Tide, including a tough loss to Clemson in the 2019 CFP National Championship Game.

Tagovailoa hates losing, but Miami now knows what it has to do in the 2021 NFL Draft.

It has to get wide receivers, running backs, offensive linemen and maybe an athletic tight end.

Currently, the Dolphins are 8-5 and have the final wildcard spot in the AFC playoff picture.

If Tagovailoa can lead it to wins over New England, Las Vegas and Buffalo, he will end Miami’s campaign at 11-5.

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He has the franchise in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

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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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