Head coach MikeMcDaniel has said more than once in recent weeks that he wants Tua Tagovailoa to have fun when he’s playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.
Well, if Tua didn’t have fun Sunday afternoon, he’ll never have fun.
While leading the Dolphins to perhaps the greatest comeback in franchise history, Tagovailoa joined some elite company with his six touchdown passes, tying a franchise record shared by the team’s two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Bob Griese and Dan Marino.
Not surprisingly, Tagovailoa set NFL career highs with the six touchdown passes and his 469 passing yards. He also set a career high with a passer rating of 124.1.
It was reminiscent of his glory days at Alabama, though his statistical bests for the Crimson Tide in those two categories were 444 yards (at South Carolina in 2019) and six touchdowns (vs. Mississippi, also in 2019).
Remarkably, Tua had 319 passing yards against the Ravens in the second half alone, including 199 in the fourth quarter.
Tagovailoa’s passing yardage total was the highest ever for a Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and the fourth-highest overall.
Tua’s previous career highs had been 361 yards (at Buffalo in the 2020 season finale), four touchdowns (vs. Atlanta in 2021) and a 122.3 passer rating (at Arizona in 2020).
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WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT TUA’S PERFORMANCE
Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel: “Now, maybe Tua will listen to me. What I mean by that is, I’ve said it to you guys before. It’s awesome to be critical of yourself. That’s good. He has a high standard for himself. But after the first game, I just wanted to see the guy enjoy playing football and understand that, yes, we want to make the perfect read and the perfect throw every time. But, who cares if you just get better at one thing. You’re going to be pretty good at the end of the season, let’s just press forward. Well, the absolute worst thing could have happened at the beginning of the game for him where he gets a contested ball, that’s not really his fault. I know Tyreek [Hill] will say he should catch that; the first interception. And then he starts pressing and throws it up for a second interception. So, you want to talk about everything we talk about; how coachable the guy is, this is huge, because he stopped worrying about the last play. He went and played and took his responsibilities seriously to his teammates about, ‘Hey, I’m going to lead this team confidently.’ It is what you get into sports for. It is as cool for the coaching staff and him that it was coming to life. I think it was a moment that he will never forget. That hopefully he can use moving forward. We basically had to play perfect complimentary football to come back from a deficit like that, and this is a really good team. So, I couldn’t be happier with him, and his teammates know. His teammates learned a lot about him, and I think he learned something about himself.”
QB Tua Tagovailoa on what having a game like this does for his confidence: “I would say I’m always confident in what I can do, confident in myself. But I think that just shows the resiliency of our team. It brings all our confidence up, confidence in one another, confidence that if the offense has a turnover that the defense is going to get us the ball back and vice versa.”
WR Tyreek Hill on whether Tua’s performance validated what he’s been saying all offseason: “Man, I don’t have to say too much, man, all you got to do is look at his game film. It’s Tua, and who he is and how consistent he is. You know that last drive we had, it really showed me who he is as a leader. You know, getting everybody inside of the huddle, telling guys, ‘Make sure you run the ball to the official or hand it to Connor [Williams].’ Just small things, you know, to save time. And, you know, be able for us to go down the field and make a play.”
CB Xavien Howard on what it was like to see Tua Tagovailoa light it up: “I’ve been seeing it in Tua. I feel like he is only getting better each game. He almost had 500 yards throwing as a quarterback. I told him to just keep working and keep doing his thing.”
WR Jaylen Waddle on Tagovailoa’s clutch performance and what message it sends: “It was, like I said, we expect that from Tua [Tagovailoa]. We’re confident in him, [and] he’s confident in himself. It’s good for you all to see, but we kind of expect it from him.”
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson on seeing what QB Tua Tagovailoa is doing: “Yes, he was making some throws, and those guys were doing their thing – [Jaylen] Waddle, Tyreek [Hill]; they’re heck of players. And shoutout to Tua, because he did his thing.”