In the late window, all eyes were pointed towards Hard Rock Stadium as rookie quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert squared up in what was a game that partially decided if the Miami Dolphins made the right choice with the number five overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Let’s analyze who had the better performance in the first of many showdowns:
Both rising stars had a standard outing. L.A. Chargers signal-caller Herbert threw for 187 yards, while Miami’s Tagovailoa hurled for 169 yards. Herbert may have won on distance, but Tua had more on the average.
Tagovailoa averaged 11.27 yards per completion, while Herbert only had 9.35 yards per completion. Even with Tua making more of an impact on his throws, Tagovailoa was also more consistent and accurate. In the end, if you want to win a game in the NFL, accuracy must come before throwing power, and the former Alabama star was the better man in that suit.
This is where Herbert had the advantage in Week 10, but not by a lot. Through only four carries, the Oregon Ducks standout rushed for 10 yards and a touchdown. On the other end, Tua had six rushes, pushing him back to negative one yards.
Miami’s rushing game was in jeopardy due to injuries sustaining their top three running backs, but undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed was outstanding. In 21 attempts, the former Washington Husky built up 85 yards and a touchdown.
Miami’s defense got the better of Herbert and it showed immensely. The “No-Named Defense” was all over the field Sunday. Both Nik Needham and Emanuel Ogbah got to Herbert to earn sacks, while Xavien Howard picked off another pass, his 17th since December 2017.
As for Tagovailoa, he did a great job of evading pressure and being accurate with his passes. Although he was fumbled once, he continued playing a secure style of football.
Tua could probably tip his cap to the built-up offensive line. For the first time in 34 games, the Dolphins didn’t allow a sack, something Miami fans should be celebrating like it’s the Super Bowl.
The storyline behind it:
One year ago, Tagovailoa suffered a season-ending hip injury. This injury not only lowered his draft stock but put up a lot of doubt from many. From Tua’s first three starts, having no interceptions and five touchdowns, it’s looking more like Miami made the right choice at the No. 5 selection.
The Dolphins look to continue their winning ways as they once again head out west to play the Denver Broncos. Kickoff is set at 4:05 p.m. at Empower Field in Denver, Colorado.