Dolphins fans got to see the much-anticipated preseason debut of Tua Tagovailoa on Saturday, and the second-year quarterback didn’t disappoint against the Bears.
Until he did.
Tagovailoa, no longer in a quarterback competition with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, is the clear starter for Miami, starting the game as the team’s unquestioned starter. He saw action in three drives against Chicago, who was breaking in a rookie of its own in Justin Fields.
Tagovailoa’s first drive didn’t last long, as he went 0 for 2 with a throwaway and dropped pass from tight end Adam Shaheen. He was considerably better after, completing his next eight passes for 99 yards. That included a 50-yard floater to tight end Mike Gesicki — his longest pass completion since he still played at Alabama:
That drive ultimately stalled at the 1-yard line, as Chicago’s defense put together a goal-line stand to limit the Dolphins to a field goal. Tagovailoa also made several throws into tight windows, such as this 14-yarder to Mack Hollins on third-and-8:
Unfortunately for Tagovailoa, his final pass of the day was an interception from the Bears’ 14-yard line; he had Shaheen open, but noticed him a second too late. By the time the ball arrived, Bears defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carston jumped the route for the pick.
In all, Tagovailoa finished the day completing 8 of 11 passes for 99 yards and the pick. It appears coach Brian Flores had him on a snap count, as he didn’t take the field for the remainder of the game, including in a two-minute situation at the end of the half. His backup, Jacoby Brissett, completed 6 of 10 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown (a 23-yard connection with running back Salvon Ahmed) through the end of the half and first drive of the third quarter.
Below are the reactions from Twitter — good, bad and “meh” — for Tagovailoa’s 2021 preseason debut:
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