By: Brandon Liguori
Let’s call it how it is: Tua Tagovailoa, in his first professional start under center, was not great, but neither was Miami’s offensive line. Brian Flores’ defense and special teams, when it is all said and done, came to play football today.
A 21-point second quarter, which included a 78-yard fumble return touchdown from Andrew Van Ginkel, after Emmanuel Ogbah created pressure on Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff and an 88-yard punt return touchdown from speedy receiver Jakeem Grant were the finishing touches in a surprising 11-point victory Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, 28-17, extending Miami’s winning streak to three and moving above the .500 mark for the first time under Flores (4-3).
“We won. We won the game. And again, it’s a team football game. I can’t stress that enough. It’s not a one-man show,” Flores said. Aside from a dominant second quarter, the Dolphins were, for most of the game, invisible and sloppy on the offensive end. Tagovailoa was seven passing yards shy of 100, finishing 12/22 and finding DeVante Parker for a three-yard touchdown score to close the opening quarter.
“I don’t think I played to the standard of what this offense is capable of. There were certain plays where I could have stepped up and made the right throw, made the right decision,” Tagovailoa said.
Goff, meanwhile, had to throw the football 61 times because at one point, his team trailed, 28-7, forcing Goff and the Rams to become one dimensional. Sean McVay’s Rams ran a total of 92 plays, whereas Flores’ Dolphins ran 48. In terms of yards, the Rams out-gained the Dolphins, 471-145.
Usually, these numbers would result in an automatic victory for the Rams, but the Dolphins’ front seven had their ways with Goff early and often, with the former California product tossing two interceptions and losing two fumbles in the first half.
Tagovailoa will have to produce a lot more under center next Sunday, as a dangerous Arizona Cardinals squad that features an electrifying quarterback in Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, who entered Week 8 as the league-leader in receiving yards (704), await.
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