Tua Tagovailoa dissected Patriots defense and Bill Belichick’s elaborate game plan

Henry McKenna

AFC East Reporter

Bill Belichick clearly knows Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa can throw the deep ball. The New England Patriots geared up a defensive game plan with a design to prevent big plays. 

While Tagovailoa earned an unfair reputation as The Guy Who Can’t Throw Deep, he has completely upended that evaluation. The QB faced a question this week about whether he thought anyone still doubted his deep-throwing abilities. Tua scoffed and said: “I don’t care.” Tagovailoa is, in fact, so dangerous with the deep ball that the smartest defensive mind in the NFL (Belichick) forced the Dolphins QB to win with the quick passing game.

So that’s what Tua did.

Tagovailoa spent the game torturing Belichick’s defense with paper cuts. Small slices but exasperatingly painful. The Dolphins won, 24-17, in Week 2 on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

Tagovailoa closed out the first half against the Patriots with a drive where he went 7 of 7 for 69 yards and a touchdown. Miami went up-tempo for the drive and looked like it was in complete control of the game. Tagovailoa dropped a dime to Braxton Berrios to get the Dolphins inside the 5-yard line, with an arcing pass sneaking into the window between defensive backs Marcus Jones and Christian Gonzalez.

Some games, the Dolphins rely almost completely on Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. So Belichick seemed to force Tua away from those two guys. That didn’t bug Tua either. He targeted nine different receivers and six of those pass-catchers had 20 yards or more.

It wasn’t perfect. Tagovailoa lost his cool in the fourth quarter, with a deep attempt for Tyreek Hill that was an effort to test rookie Christian Gonzalez. But the cornerback showed why the Patriots picked him in the first round. Gonzalez tracked down the ball, severely underthrown to Hill. And the cornerback (6-foot-2) won the contested catch against the much shorter Hill (5-foot-10). But New England couldn’t punish Miami for the turnover. The Patriots…

Source link : https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nfl/not-even-bill-belichicks-elaborate-game-plan-could-stop-tua-tagovailoa

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Publish date : 2023-09-18 03:40:27

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