Omar Kelly: Tua Tagovailoa puts Dolphins in position to win with opening drives, late-game success. What about between then?

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Football

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — If the Miami Dolphins can get Tua Tagovailoa to consistently play the way he performs this season in the opening drives of games and in the fourth quarter, Miami’s offense, and possibly the season, would take off.

While the talent around Miami’s second-year starter hasn’t always allowed Tagovailoa to shine, he’s somehow managed to excel in those two critical and telling areas. And if these trends continue against a stingy Carolina Panthers defense on Sunday, it should serve as proof the Dolphins have a quarterback worth building around.

Tagovailoa’s opening drives this season prove that when the Dolphins stick to the script — executing plays they spend all week practicing — they are successful.

In Week 1 against the New England Patriots, Tagovailoa was 4 for 4 for 49 passing yards, and he ran it in for a game-opening touchdown.

In Week 2, he got sacked twice on the first drive by the Buffalo Bills, which ended in a punt. The next series he suffered a rib injury that sidelined him for three weeks.

When he returned against the Jacksonville Jaguars a month later, he was 8-of-10 passing for 76 yards and threw a touchdown pass on the opening drive.


The week after that, Tagovailoa went 7 for 8 for 52 passing yards in an opening drive against the Atlanta Falcons that ended in another touchdown pass.

In his second game against the Bills, he was 4 for 7 for 38 yards on the first drive, which concluded with Jason Sanders missing a field goal.

And last week against the New York Jets, Tagovailoa was 6 for 6 for 61 yards, and Jaylen Waddle ran it in for a 1-yard touchdown to cap off the drive.

Tagovailoa has completed 29 of 35 passes for 276 yards with two touchdowns through the air and one rushing touchdown in all of his opening drives this season.


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