For the first time ever, Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took the field at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday as the starter in what many hope is just the beginning for the 22 year-old phenom. Then he proceeded to deliver a promising 28-17 win over the previously 5-2 Los Angeles Rams.
Tagovailoa threw for only 93 yards and 12 completions in 22 attempts, but one of those completions included a three-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver DeVante Parker as time expired in the first quarter. It was his first NFL touchdown pass.
The Dolphins exploded for three more touchdowns in the second quarter — one a 78-yard fumble return and another an 88-yard punt return — to give them a 28-7 lead they would not relinquish.
“That was fun. That was really fun,” Tagovailoa said in the postgame press conference. “It always feels good throwing a touchdown and being able to celebrate with your team, and your teammates on the sideline are celebrating as well. It’s not easy, especially like I said, scoring against a defense like that, but just enjoying the moment every time, just enjoying the moment. And I’m keeping the ball.”
Tagovailoa also made sure to thank his defense, which scored the touchdown and held a talented Rams offense to 17 points.
“Thank God we’ve got a good defense,” he said, “so when we do start to string good plays together, we know that we can be able to make plays and then get the ball back.”
Miami is now 4-3 in 2020 and is currently riding a three-game winning streak. Including a bye week, the Dolphins haven’t lost since Oct. 4. During their shutout win over the New York Jets on Oct. 18, Tagovailoa replaced starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the game and completed both of his passes. Afterward, it was announced that Tagovailoa would be the starter against the Rams.
Now with one start under his belt, Tagovailoa will seek to replicate the success in Miami’s next game on the road Sunday against the 5-2 Arizona Cardinals.
Remarkably, Tua was not the only member of his family to make national news this weekend. His younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa, led the Maryland Terrapins to a dramatic 45-44 overtime victory against Minnesota on Friday night. Taulia threw for 394 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 64 yards and two more scores, including what proved to be the game-winner from two yards out in overtime.
The Tagovailoa brothers share more than their abilities as quarterbacks. They are also both believers, and each has discussed his faith in the past.
Taulia praised God when he announced he was transferring from Alabama to Maryland in May.
“Praise God from whom ALL blessing flow,” Taulia’s Twitter post said. “Thank you to Coach Saban & The great U of A staff for giving me an opportunity to stay in sweet home Alabama my 1st year in college. This decision was not easy & has been prayed on non stop. Thank you to my Pastors & my family for always interceding on my behalf. Today, I am blessed to share that I will be continuing my academic & athletic journey at the university of Maryland. I’m grateful to Coach Locksley & the staff for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to get to College Park. God bless & Go Terps!”
Tua burst onto the scene as a freshman at Alabama, when he came off the bench to lead his team to an overtime come-from-behind win against Georgia in the national championship game. Afterward, he used his platform to thank Jesus.
“First and foremost,” Tua said, “I’d just like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With Him, all things are possible.”
“The greatest gift that God could’ve ever given us was His Son,” he said. “It’s not just a matter of hearing what Jesus Christ is. It’s a matter of getting to know who Jesus Christ is, to really understand and really feel the identity of who you are because of things that He’s done. And I’d say you can only find your identity through Him, if you know Him.”
Tua’s historic college career came to an early end last fall when he suffered a serious hip dislocation that had some questioning his long-term viability as a football player. Still, he clung to Christ during the strenuous rehab and months of recovery.
Now, God has granted him a platform as an NFL quarterback.
Upon being drafted No. 5 by the Dolphins, Tua made it clear what is most important in his life. He chose “1” as his Dolphins jersey number to represent the importance of God’s status above all else. “For the Audience of 1,” he said in a jersey-reveal tweet.