Tua Tagovailoa continually points to one glaring issue as he explains why Miami Dolphins lost to Kansas City Chiefs

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa shared that the team experienced communication issues in its playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It really started with practices,” Tagovailoa said. “That’s how we should’ve got things going, was in practice, with the communication, knowing where we should be going in this loud environment. Those miscues lead to delay of games. We can’t change the protection because we don’t have enough time, things like that. It was communication errors.”

The Dolphins lost 26-7 to the Chiefs, their second straight season where they’ve been knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

Miami struggled on third downs in the game, another thing that Tagovailoa attributed to communication miscues. The team was just 1 for 12 on third down.

The Chiefs also were effectively able to blitz Tagovailoa, sacking him two times in the playoff loss. The former No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft once again cited communication as the reason for the Chiefs’ defense working against Miami.

“I would attest that to the communication errors that we’ve had,” he said. “Am I hearing the right formation? OK, we’re getting out but we have two motions that we have to use. Then there’s maybe nine seconds left on the clock, and we’re motioning.

“Now it’s about five seconds and we don’t have time to change so now we’ve got to play and we’ve got to through where our hots would be but they pressured. Spags [Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] had a good plan. They executed well against us.”

It’s a little frustrating to hear that there were so many issues communicating for a Miami offense that had been one of the best in the NFL all season long. However, Miami struggled in two games against the Chiefs (one regular season and one playoff game), scoring just 21 total points in those two games.

Tagovailoa struggled in his first playoff game in Kansas City, completing just 20 of his 39 pass attempts for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He added three carries in the game for 25 yards.

It seems like the Dolphins could have fixed some of the errors that cost them on Saturday with some better preparation, but now the team will have turn to its focus to next season to avoid another first-round playoff exit.

While Tagovailoa’s playoff debut did not go as planned, the lefty quarterback still had a strong 2023 season. Tagovailoa threw for an NFL-leading 4,624 yards in the regular season. He completed a career-high 69.3 percent of his passes and threw for 29 touchdowns, which was also a career-high.

Hopefully, he and the Dolphins can learn from their mistakes in the playoffs this season to improve in the 2024 campaign.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.