NFL exec on Tua Tagovailoa’s TD passes vs. Ravens: ‘This was a complete outlier beyond what I thought his skillset was’

Tua Tagovailoa

After Sunday’s strong performance by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, one NFL executive is expressing amazement about the skills that the third-year signal caller has at his disposal.

Mike Sando of The Athletic had the unnamed executive look at each of Tagovailoa’s six touchdown passes, with the final assessment being the clutch aspect of a majority of the scoring tosses.

“This was a complete outlier beyond what I thought his skillset was,” the exec said, noting that four of the six TDs fell on third down, when passing is most difficult.

For the afternoon, Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and led the Dolphins to a stirring 42-38 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens. One of the most impressive aspects of that performance is that his touchdown pass output matched what he did over the course of his last five starts last season.

The Dolphins selected Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, when he didn’t develop as quickly as another high pick in that same draft, Justin Herbert, questions were raised about his talents.

In Need of Weapons

One of the issues during Tagovailoa’s first year was the fact that he was coming off major hip surgery and was brought along slowly. Once he did enter the starting lineup, his receiving options were in need of an upgrade.

During the 2021 NFL Draft, the Dolphins made an effort to rectify that issue by selecting Tagovailoa’s one-time University of Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle. That choice showed great promise last year when Waddle caught 104 passes for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns.

Another major attempt at an upgrade then took place during the past offseason, when the Dolphins acquired Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs in a blockbuster deal.

Only two games into the new season and Tagovailoa’s new receiving options are helping erase some of the questions that have been directed about his ability.

Waddle already has 15 receptions and three touchdowns, the last two coming against the Ravens. Hill has 19 catches and scored his first two touchdowns with the Dolphins during the team’s dramatic fourth-quarter comeback.

Despite the outstanding leadership that Tagovailoa showed, those critics may not be ready yet to admit that they were wrong. However, they’re more likely to view the quarterback from a more positive viewpoint, especially if he’s able to keep delivering wins to the Dolphins.