Tua Tagovailoa is entering a critical season as Miami’s starting quarterback, so with OTAs wrapped up, it’s an excellent time to take a look back at the highlights from his first two NFL seasons.
This article is part of series highlighting the best five games, throws and runs of Tagovailoa’s career.
To select Tagovailoa’s five best games, we looked at his performance as well as how it impacted the outcome.
Here’s a countdown of what we consider to be Tagovailoa’s best games from the past two seasons.
No. 5: 2021 vs. Jacksonville (at London)
It was a tough call for the first entry on this countdown, but we went with the game at Jacksonville in part because it was Tua’s first game back after he missed time with the rib injury he sustained in Week 2.
This game also featured Tua’s one 300-yard passing performance of 2021 — he completed 33 of 47 passes for 329 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The Dolphins ended up losing that game, 23-20, but Tagovailoa put the Dolphins ahead in the fourth quarter with a short touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle and it was a failed fourth-down run and two long Jacksonville field goals that doomed Miami.
No. 4: 2020 vs. Cincinnati
This might be a strange pick considering Tua threw only one touchdown pass and his passer rating of 97.8 isn’t among the six highest of his career, but there were others factors at play.
Tua led five scoring drives, had a great 35-yard completion after scrambling in the pocket and he also should have had a 91-yard touchdown pass to Jakeem Grant had Grant not dropped a perfectly thrown deep pass.
No. 3: 2021 at N.Y. Jets
This game featured Tagovailoa’s longest touchdown pass to date, the 65-yarder to Mack Hollins in the third quarter to break a 7-7 tie.
Tagovailoa was 27-for-33 for 273 yards with two touchdowns and a pick, good for a passer rating of 108.7, the third-highest of his career.
His 26-yard pass to Mike Gesicki highlighted a touchdown drive to start the game and he engineered a field goal drive that consumed 6:53 in the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.
No. 2: 2021 vs. Carolina
The Dolphins performance against the Panthers at Hard Rock Stadium last November was the team’s most complete of the season, and that included some strong work by Tua.
He completed 27 of 31 passes that day for 231 yards and a touchdown, and had a 57-yard completion to Jaylen Waddle when he hit the rookie wide receiver across the middle on a deep slant.
Best of all, Tagovailoa was 6-for-6 on third down, including a 25-yard completion to Waddle and a 9-yard TD pass to Waddle.
No. 1: 2020 at Arizona
Tua has had games with more passing yards, more touchdowns and more rushing yards, though this was the one where he produced his highest single-game passer rating (122.3).
There can be no doubt this was his signature moment in the NFL so far.
It came in his second NFL start in Week 8 of the 2020 season.
Tua’s final stats — 20-for-28 for 248 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions along with three rushing attempts for 27 yards — weren’t overwhelming, but it was his ability to come up with clutch throws or runs that stood out.
Of note, there was a key third-down completion to DeVante Parker to jump-start a long drive in the second half that was capped by a touchdown pass to Mack Hollins that tied the score 31-31 in a game the Dolphins eventually won 34-31.
Tua’s other touchdown pass was to Preston Williams on the infamous play that knocked Williams out for the season with a foot injury.
Tua’s scrambles included one where he juked safety Budda Baker in the open field.