The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs are the most recent playoff D to cook dinner tuna fried Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa has confirmed to his detractors that he’s a viable beginning quarterback. He’s confirmed to his critics that he can ferry nuclear-powered offense. However Tyreek Hill’s cheat code velocity can solely get the Miami juggernaut thus far. There’s nonetheless a barrier left for Tagovailoa to hurdle.

He’s acquired to beat his penchant for underperforming towards stifling, playoff-caliber defenses. It’s the ultimate roadblock to his upward trajectory. On Sunday, Tagovailoa had one other clunker towards the kind of resistance MVP contenders are sometimes in a position to overcome. Whereas Miami’s protection gave Patrick Mahomes bother and turned Travis Kelce right into a bystander, Tagovailoa threw solely 193 yards and one touchdowns.The run recreation clicked, the protection rolled and the offense benefitted from Kansas Metropolis’s crippling second half penalties. Everybody executed Sunday besides Tagovailoa.

For a lot of the primary half, Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense had been in standby mode and commenced the second half trailing the defending champs 21-0. Tagovailoa finally snapped out of it, and Raheem Mostert put Miami in place to tie it up within the waning minutes. Nonetheless, a flurry of errors finally price Miami on the ultimate drive.

On third-and-10 in Kansas Metropolis territory, Tagovailoa threw a duck, which plummeted to the turf nicely behind a wide-open Cedrick WIlson who had nothing however inexperienced grass forward of him. On fourth down, Tagovailoa didn’t even give himself an opportunity to take a second shot downfield. Whereas Steve Spagnuolo introduced a Cowl 0 blitz, Tagovailoa fumbled the snap, fell on prime of it and the sport was over. It was a deflating end for the Dolphins and Mike McDaniels, who’d grow to be the darling of the German media.

All in all, the Chiefs protection turned the most recent elite unit to mince Tua into hen of the ocean. For Tagovailoa particularly, Sunday was an unlucky continuation of his shaky play towards elite competitors. Dealing with sub-.500 groups, Tagovailoa rises to the event. However he was a shell of himself towards the Buffalo Payments, wilted underneath the strain of Philadelphia’s rush and needed to be persistently bailed out by the run recreation and protection towards Kansas Metropolis.

On a weekend the place Josh Dobbs mounted a rally for the Minnesota Vikings in his first week on the roster and rookie CJ Stroud activated the GOAT setting towards Tampa Bay, Tagovailoa’s unsteadiness in strain conditions is much more conspicuous. Previous to this week, Tagovailoa led the MVP area by a hair. Mahomes most likely overtook him after Sunday’s end result, however even he was pedestrian within the second half. Mahomes utterly vanished because the Chiefs offense went scoreless for the ultimate 32 minutes of regulation.

It didn’t assist that his favourite goal, Tyreek Hill, aka the man who needs to be Midseason MVP, fumbled within the first half, surrendering a defensive landing to Kansas Metropolis’s protection. The final time the Dolphins defeated a crew above .500 was towards the Buffalo Payments in Week 3 of the 2022 season. In opposition to groups with a profitable document this season, they’re averaging 22 factors per recreation fewer than they do versus profitable groups. Tagovailoa’s points with concussions within the 2022 season suppressed a lot of this narrative, nevertheless it actually started to develop legs after the Dolphins offense faltered towards Fred Warner and the San Francisco 49ers’ stifling protection. Tagovailoa’s struggles despatched the Dolphins right into a tailspin they by no means recovered from. Now we all know that it travels with them.

At 25, Tagovailoa remains to be a work-in-progress, however he’s enjoying for greater than a Tremendous Bowl within the second half of 2023. Miami’s championship window may be huge open now, however the Dolphins have to find out if Tagovailoa is the long-term reply. Tagovailoa and common supervisor Chris Grier tabled extension talks this summer season. Tagovailoa’s 2022 breakout wasn’t a fluke, however was it a ceiling?

Fourth quarter comebacks towards potential playoff foes is what separates the Jared Goffs from franchise cornerstones. When the movement, velocity and finesse trickery can solely get Miami thus far, Tagovailoa has to start carrying a extra important load.

As soon as quarterbacks signal an extension the clock begins ticking till the wage cap room round them dries up. Miami is paying Hill and Jalen Ramsey top-3 cash at their respective positions. Given the kind of wage that quarterbacks are being supplied in contract extensions, extra consistency towards higher echelon opposition is a good expectation for Tua Tagovailoa.

Comply with DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex

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