Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in his first two starts. Photo from @MiamiDolphins (Twitter)
- The Miami Dolphins’ had a convincing victory over the Arizona Cardinals 34-31 on Sunday afternoon
- The Dolphins have won four games in a row and now have a 5-3 record
- See the updated odds on the Miami Dolphins to make the playoffs, along with analysis below
Tua Tagovailoa is making the Miami Dolphins’ somewhat controversial decision to switch starting quarterbacks look good.
The rookie has guided the Dolphins to back-to-back wins since taking over for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, 28-17 over the Los Angeles Rams, and 34-31 over the Arizona Cardinals on the road.
The Dolphins are now 5-3 and their odds of reaching the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2016 continue to improve.
Those odds improved all the way to -110 from +320 following last Sunday’s win over the Cardinals.
Dolphins Odds to Make Playoffs
Odds taken Nov. 10 at FanDuel
Tua Getting Comfortable
Tagovailoa looked more comfortable Sunday in his second career start as he led the Dolphins to an upset victory over the Cardinals as six-point underdogs.
The left-hander completed 20-of-28 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns. The number five overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft finished with a 112.3 passer rating and added 35 yards rushing on seven carries.
Next up: Chargers on CBS at 4:05 pm ET! pic.twitter.com/ZXdQBHW6QF
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 9, 2020
The Dolphins also did not commit any turnovers.
Tagovailoa spread the ball around as four different receivers had at least four targets.
DeVante Parker was the top receiver with six catches for 64 yards. Preston Williams had four receptions for 60 yards before forced from the game in the second quarter with a foot injury.
Super Bowl 55 Odds Tracker
Rough – But Winning – First Start
In his first start, Tagovailoa was shaky against the Rams as he had just 93 yards passing. He was 12 of 22 attempts, though he threw his first career TD pass to Parker.
Tagovailoa locked in, perhaps a little too much, on running back Myles Gaskin (six targets) and Williams (five) as they combined for half the Dolphins’ targets. Gaskin sat out the game at Arizona after being placed on injured reserve with a knee problem.
Tagovailoa also fumbled on his first pass attempt when hit by Michael Brockers.
Not the ideal start for Tua. Fumble on first pass attempt. Doesn’t matter. I’m all in on Tua Time! pic.twitter.com/wfrzNGaOvp
— Rudy (@rudyjuly2) November 1, 2020
The Dolphins generated just eight first downs and 145 total yards compared to 31 and 471 for the Rams.
Yet Miami won because it caused four turnovers. The Dolphins also got touchdowns on a 78-yard fumble return by Andrew Van Ginkel and an 88-yard punt return by Jakeem Grant in 1:14 span in the second quarter.
This game is a party pic.twitter.com/VL3mwP2ugK
— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) November 1, 2020
Tagovailoa was not a factor running the ball in as he had two carries for zero yards.
Sizing Up The Competition
At 5-3, the Dolphins are in second place in the AFC East, two games behind the Buffalo Bills (7-2). Miami lost at home to Buffalo 31-28 in Week 2.
However, the Dolphins are currently in a four-way tie for the last two AFC wild card spots in the NFL’s expanded 14-team playoff field. Also at 5-3 are the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, and Las Vegas Raiders.
The Dolphins have home games remaining with the Los Angeles Chargers (2-6), Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1), Kansas City Chiefs (8-1), and New England Patriots (3-5). Miami also visits the Denver Broncos (3-5), New York Jets (0-9), Raiders, and Bills.
Tbh, looking at their schedule, the Dolphins could be 9-3 by the time they play Kansas City. https://t.co/49xHr3uGHv pic.twitter.com/YDBUFldbxk
— SKOLLINOIS (VETERAN’S DAY EDITION) (@Aaron_says_SKOL) November 9, 2020
Miami’s eight upcoming opponents have a combined 30-36-1 record for a .442 winning percentage. The Dolphins figure to be favorites in five of those eight games and underdogs against the Chiefs, Raiders, and Bills.
The Dolphins are playing as well as just about any team in the NFL right now and could beat any team remaining on their schedule – including the Chiefs — and could end the franchise’s four-year postseason drought.
Miami has a stout defense that should keep them in games as the Dolphins are fourth in the NFL in points allowed at 20.1 a game. That takes a lot of pressure off the offense and a young quarterback.
And speaking of Tagovailoa, the improvement he showed from his first start to his second was substantial. He also has the pedigree of being a winner in college at Alabama.
Some Dolphins’ history could also be on his side.
Dan Marino made his pro debut with the #Dolphins in Week 6 of the 1983 season. Dolphins were 3-2, finished 12-4, Marino makes the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Tua: Making his debut in Week 8, Dolphins 3-3…To Be Continued.
— Martín Bater (@MartinBaterSP) October 20, 2020
One doesn’t have to squint to see Tagovailoa matching Marino, though there was a lot more value in betting on the Dolphins a week ago than now.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.