Dolphins display dominance on both sides vs Falcons
A laser sharp Tua Tagovailoa, combined with an opportunistic Dolphins defense, shut down the Atlanta Falcons 37-17 on Saturday. With a redacted preseason now at three games, the middle contest served as the dress rehearsal for the Miami Dolphins.
Per Coach Flores in pre kick interview Tua and starters will go at least through first half, possibly into 3rd. #MiamiDolphins #FinsUp
— David Eversole (@DavidWEversole) August 21, 2021
Tua’s Starring Role
As in the opener against the Chicago Bears, Tagovailoa once again came out of the gate poised and effective.
.@Tua was 8-for-8 for 78 yards in the first quarter.
He is the only @NFL player this preseason to have a 100% completion percentage and at least 5 pass attempts in the first quarter of a game.
— Brett Brecheisen (@bbrech) August 21, 2021
After a full offseason to strengthen his body and mind, Tagovailoa looks like the quarterback many predicted to be the top pick before his hip injury ended his college career.
Rocket.@Tua | #ATLvsMIA pic.twitter.com/F6Mh7n3TFJ
— NFL (@NFL) August 22, 2021
In two preseason contests and playing roughly a full game total, Tagovailoa is 24-of-34 with 282 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Even then, statistics don’t tell the full story. On film, Tagovailoa looks much more comfortable in the pocket, despite an uneven offensive line performance once again.
The game plan was to get the ball out quickly and it was an effective strategy. Miami’s offensive line was inconsistent in pass protection but was much more effective in run blocking this time around.
Also, Malcolm Brown was featured more in this game and had a team high 10 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed were quiet on the ground, but both made an impact as receivers. Gaskin finished tied for the team lead with four receptions, while Ahmed chipped in two catches for 19 yards.
Not everything was wonderful, however. An early injury scare to rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle gave the home crowd at Hard Rock Stadium reason to pause.
Tough to tell what happened to Jaylen Waddle but he was clearly in a lot of pain. Got tangled up near endzone. pic.twitter.com/NGnW7wqHNU
— Will Manso (@WillManso) August 21, 2021
Thankfully, Waddle seemed to recover and shortly returned to action, finishing with three receptions for 21 yards.
Sam Eguavoen Electric in Return
The unquestioned star of the evening was linebacker Sam Eguavoen, who returned to action from the reserve/COVID-19 list just in time. Eguavoen was a one-man wrecking crew, finishing with 11 tackles and a remarkable four sacks.
His final sack of the evening also resulted in a safety on Falcons QB Felipe Franks in the third quarter. That put the Dolphins up 23-3 and kept the excitement high. The rest of the Miami reserves were also much better in this game compared to last week against Chicago.
All in all, it was a very complete performance for the Dolphins and the team played hard for a full 60 minutes. They were disciplined and committed just two penalties for 19 yards, while not turning the ball over once.
Up next the Dolphins will close out the preseason with a trip to face the Cincinnati Bengals.
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