Hungry Dolphins Fans Should Be Craving For More Tua

Ok, I’ll say what everyone else was thinking: I was really hoping that the stat line in Tua Tagovailoa’s first pro-career start would be something like 20-25, 250 yards, and 3 touchdowns topped off with 3 rushes for 30 yards and a rushing touchdown that had him carrying Aaron Donald on his back like Bo Jackson with Brian Bosworth. Tua would be smiling that contagious smile, dancing on the sidelines to reggaeton, and playfully bantering with Ryan Fitzpartrick and the squad of Fitzpatrick children. Of course, this would be all in a Dolphins victory.


Well, I got the Dolphins victory part correct.


The Miami Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Rams 28-17 in a game that should not have been as close as the score seems to indicate whenever people review the headlines Monday morning. That incredible first half was all that I could have asked for, though I was hoping Chan Gailey would break out the Statue of Liberty play or throw in a flea flicker. Nope. Not on the menu.


Dolphins fans, this was enjoyable to watch despite the cardiac nature of the finish. The constant pressure put on Jared Goff via well-timed, excellently executed blitzes was such a marvel. There was even a Jakeem Grant sighting as he returned a punt for a touchdown. Heck, even Andrew Van Ginkel got in on the act. Who out there would’ve expected that?


Despite all of the pyrotechnics of the first half, this was the Tua game. This game had the hype of Tua but the aftertaste of a very satisfying complete team victory. But truth be told, I really wanted more Tua. We all wanted more Tua.


As Miami Dolphins fans, we are so starved for a QB to give us a Dan Marino-eque lift that we glom onto anyone that feels like will come within the same time zone of that possibility. We all know that Tua represents the best chance of quelling that hunger. And no, I did not feel that way with Ryan Tannehill, though I am happy he is enjoying success in Tennessee, having rid himself of the Adam Gase stink.


Tua is different. He comes with a pedigree and a resume of success that we have not recently seen in a QB we have drafted since, dare I say, Chad Henne? Was he the closest?


In this, the seventh game of the season, we were given the opportunity to see it all come together. But rather than it be the showcasing of a franchise changing QB, we were gifted a team that came together very Voltron-like to get the dub. You’re lying if you weren’t wanting Tua and what he accomplished in his first game to be the headline for all of the major networks. We wanted to get drunk off of the coverage.


Rest easy Dolphins fans, there will be opportunities for more. Chan Gailey isn’t going to horde the meatier, tastier parts of the playbook. I am willing to bet that it is going to be a buffet of play calls. Chan was kind enough to tip his hand with that Wildcat play as a tease of things to come. Sure on that play Aaron Donald engulfed Malcolm Perry and Malcolm Perry’s entire family, but it was a taste. And a staple of all the upcoming menus will be Tua Tagovailoa.


We were robbed of several promising drives that could have given us a longer look at the Tua possibilities had it not been for some uncharacteristic dropped passes courtesy of Preston Williams. That will be a bitter taste if only because it would have also been more live reps as he acclimates to the rigors of professional life, pro-players, and his own teammates.


Fear not, it will come with time.


Dolphins fans, if you are in any way down because the stat line was not what you had hoped or that you were deprived of a Marvel Cinematic Universe level debut, I think we can take pause. I think it’s safe to say that we should take a pause for several weeks. One game does not a career make. 


The fact that this all came in a victory where all three areas of the team–offense, defense, and special teams–contributed to scores and excelled makes us both sated and yet wanting more. Our hunger is magnified because this victory came as a result of a complete team effort. We’re all thinking, “Man what if Tua had just gone stat machine crazy out there?”


But much of the offense looked rather pedestrian, as per the stats. The most exciting play on offense besides Tua’s first touchdown pass, a three yarder to Devante Parker, came on the second play of the game. And it wasn’t exciting in the traditional sense.


I took a long gasp as Aaron Donald did Aaron Donald things, driving Tua and causing a fumble. I was like a corner man yelling for his boxer to get up, which he did. But with no pre-season and red jerseys in practice, it was good for him to get the rust off and get the first contact out of the way. The first drive was pretty difficult to swallow.


Over a year ago, before wearing a mask was a polarizing test of one’s citizenship, I wrote about how I really wanted newly acquired QB Josh Rosen to succeed. He was a high draft pick with a good arm and the smarts. Looking on the menu of quarterbacks who were drafted that year, I told myself, “Why not try it out?”


I can play the hindsight game now and say that the Rosen one was not the Chosen One. This is to illustrate just how desperate we were as fans. 


It also illustrated just how low we had set the bar. It has since been raised.


Stats be damned, I believe we have sushi grade Tua. There is a swagger that is all confidence and toes nowhere near arrogance. Once he has his sea legs under him, he will exude even more confidence and it will be infectious.


I may not 100 percent trust the organization to properly handle dispensing the news of starting Tua to incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick or even septuagenarian offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.  But I do trust this staff in handling him properly. I do trust that the training wheels will come off much sooner than we think and the order of the day will be a healthy dose of Hall of Fame trending Miami Dolphins quarterback not named Marino or Griese.


Sounds pretty damn appetizing to me.


Next week and in the weeks to come, Dolphins fans we will feast.

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