Tua Tagovailoa has won 13 games in two years and here’s who he beat
Tua Tagovailoa has been one of the most polarizing figures in the entire NFL since joining the Miami Dolphins three drafts ago. It’s a love/hate story.
Debate continues nationwide over Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert who was chosen with the next pick. Herbert has yet to lead his team to the playoffs, but he was rookie of the year and has over 30 touchdowns in each of his two seasons.
Tagovailoa, on the other hand, has missed games due to broken ribs and a broken finger. He was fired from short-range situations for Jacoby Brissett, was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick for poor play, and was kept on the bench even when healthy, for Brissett.
Through it all and through the entire Brian Flores fiasco, Tua kept his head straight and focused on improving himself.
Compared to Herbert, Tua is doing very well. Tua has 13 wins against 15 for Herbert but has only 8 losses against 17 for Herbert. Herbert played 32 games compared to 23 for Tua. They have an exactly identical completion percentage with 66.2%. It’s touchdowns that are drastically different with Herbert at 69 and Tua at 27, but Tua is also 10 fewer interceptions.
Comparable stats are fine and work well when debating with a fan of another team, but the question is, who really beat Tua?
In 2020, Tua returned to the starting job against the Rams at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 7. The Dolphins won 28-17. The Rams were one of the best defensive units in the league and their first play from scrimmage was a hard hit fumble.
Tua has started nine games in 2020, including three against playoff teams.
- Rams – 28-17 win
- Maps – win 34-31
- LAC – 29 – 21 win
- Den – 20 – 13 loss (Fitzpatrick resumed this game in the 4th quarter and couldn’t get more than one field goal in Miami. A late errant throw resulted in an interception that sealed the game for Denver. Tua finished 11 of 20 with a touchdown and no interceptions.
- Cinc – 19 – 7 win
- KC – 27 – 33 loss
- NE – 22 – 12 win
- Raiders – 26-25 win (replaced by late Fitzpatrick)
- Buff – 26-56 loss
2020 has been up and down as expected for Tua. Fitzpatrick replaced him twice in games winning one and losing one. His game against the Chiefs was close, with the defense ultimately giving up too much for Miami’s offense to recover. In 2021, Tua has started 12 games. 4 against playoff teams.
- NE – 17-16 win
- Beef – 0-35 loss (Tua was knocked out of the game with broken ribs in the 2nd game from scrimmage. He would miss the next three games)
- Jax – 20 – 23 loss (lost at the last second FG)
- Atl – 28 – 30 loss (lost at the last second FG)
- Beef – 11 – 26 loss
- NYJ – 24 – 17 win
- Car – 33 – 10 win
- NYG – 20 – 9 win
- NYJ – 31 – 24 win
- NOR – 20 – 3 win
- Ten – 3 – 34 loss
- NE-33-24 to win
Looking at Tua’s games, it’s obvious he had a lot more success against teams that didn’t make the playoffs, but there are always reasons why certain games stand out. We didn’t include the Ravens win where Tua replaced Brissett and led the team to a win, we included the win over New Orleans when they were completely decimated by COVID.
Against Tennessee, it was revealed after the season that the Dolphins didn’t have an offensive game plan going into the game and yes, Tua has yet to beat the Bills but he’s perfect against the Jets and Patriots so far. now in his career.
Tua has beaten good teams, Arizona, New England, the Rams, Chargers and a few others, and he’s lost to surprisingly bad teams like the Falcons and Jacksonville. Both of those games were lost when the defense couldn’t stop them in their final practices as the Dolphins held a lead. The argument is that should it be Tua’s fault? No, but should they have been in this position?
What do we learn from this? Not much if we’re honest. Tua lost games he should have won and there are games he won against teams that are just bad football teams. We go into the 2022 season not knowing who Tua really is as a quarterback.
Over two seasons, are his problems the result of poor coaching, poor calling play, poor offensive line play, etc.? Or should we see Tua himself as the problem? A player who can’t lead his team to victory by carrying the team on his shoulders? You could make an argument back and forth because there’s so much to defend and blame on him.
In the end, it doesn’t matter who got beaten or who didn’t. The thing is, he won and lost games and he didn’t see the playoffs. But for those who still want to point fingers at Herbert, it can be noted that in his two seasons he beat one playoff team in 2020 and four in 2021. So do the win/loss records really mean anything for these two? Not yet, not until one of them at least makes the playoffs.