Tua Tagovailoa outduels Kyler Murray in shootout to improve to 2-0 as Dolphins starter

Jason Owens
·3 min read

Sunday’s game between the Arizona Cardinals was billed as a battle between two of the NFL’s brightest young quarterback prospects.

It did not disappoint.

Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa put on a show in the desert that saw the Dolphins win their second straight game behind their rookie quarterback.

Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins carries the ball as Corey Peters #98 of the Arizona Cardinals gives chase during the second half at State Farm Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa impressed in his second game as an NFL starter. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Tua sizzles in second NFL start

A week after the Dolphins leaned on their defense to beat the Los Angeles Rams in Tagovailoa’s NFL debut, they let their rookie rip in a shootout with Murray on Sunday. He paid off head coach Brian Flores’ confidence in a 34-31 thriller that saw Tagovailoa impress with his arm and his legs.

The Dolphins came out firing, scoring a defensive touchdown off a Murray fumble on the Cardinals’ opening drive. They took a 24-17 lead into halftime behind an impressive effort from Tagovailoa that saw him tally 158 first-half passing yards and a touchdown.

Murray’s Cardinals responded with a 14-0 third quarter but it was all Dolphins in the final stanza as Tagovailoa led Miami to the game’s final 10 points, including a pinpoint pass to Mack Hollins in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 31.

Jason Sanders’ 50-yard field goal on the next Dolphins drive with 3:30 remaining proved to be the game’s decisive score as Miami’s surprising season reached its midpoint at 5-3.

Impressive numbers for Tua

Tagovailoa finished completing 20 of 28 passes for 248 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He also produced on the ground with 35 yards on seven carries, including this 17-yard scramble to set up the late game-tying touchdown.

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He did not turn the ball over.

Doubts about switching from a successful Ryan Fitzpatrick midseason are quickly being erased.

Kyler Murray has another huge day in loss

The Dolphins needed everything they got from their high-profile rookie as Murray continued his ascension as one of the game’s most electric talents. He bounced back from his opening-drive turnover for one of the most impressive offensive performances of the NFL season.

Murray completed 21 of 26 pass attempts for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception. He added 106 yards and a touchdown on the ground against a Dolphins defense that was mostly helpless to contain him.

Final 4th-down gamble comes up short

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury regularly showed confidence in his second-year quarterback and kept his offense on the field three times on fourth down. The first two efforts were a success. But the Dolphins stuffed a fourth-and-1 effort with 5:15 remaining and the game tied at 31. This time the Cardinals strayed from Murray, sending Chase Edmonds up the middle for no gain.

Arizona had a chance to tie the game with 1:58 remaining, but Zane Gonzalez’s 49-yard field goal came up short as the Cardinals fell to 5-3.

It was a disappointing home loss for the Cardinals, but both teams should come away from Sunday feeling good about their futures.

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