Tua Tagovailoa ‘not enough’ to lead Miami Dolphins to Super Bowl success after playoff exit, says Phoebe Schecter | NFL News

Tua Tagovailoa ‘not enough’ to lead Miami Dolphins to Super Bowl success after playoff exit, says Phoebe Schecter | NFL News

The Miami Dolphins saw a season of Super Bowl contention fizzle into questions surrounding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as they were blunted by the Kansas City Chiefs in Saturday’s 26-7 Wild Card defeat at a freezing-cold Arrowhead. 

As temperatures plummeted in Kansas City, so too did the threat of a Tagovailoa-orchestrated offense that has tormented opponents with its speed and invention for much of the season.

Tagovailoa, who led the NFL in passing yards in the regular season, struggled in the face of Steve Spagnuolo’s dominant Chiefs defense as he finished 20 of 39 for 199 yards, a 53-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill and an interception.

The former fifth overall pick is now entering the final year of his rookie contract, and while Mike McDaniel has tailored his offense specifically to the 25-year-old Miami’s disappointing conclusion makes for an interesting debrief as they look to move forward in 2024.

“I do think they will pay him, but I still don’t think he is enough,” said Sky Sports NFL’s Phoebe Schecter. “You look at some of the other quarterbacks in the league and even just in that division, you look at Tua compared to Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers and there’s no comparison.

“Really when you build these teams you have to be looking to beat those guys and looking to draft somebody to beat a Patrick Mahomes and Tua has never been there.

“Once you’re off his first read you are kind of stuck and he doesn’t have the mobility of other quarterbacks.”

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Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s moustache froze as the Chiefs and Miami Dolphins played the fourth-coldest game in NFL history with the temperature hitting minus-27 degrees.

Miami’s offense declined in production over the final three games of the campaign as they closed out with a 56-19 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens followed by a 21-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills that would cost them the AFC East division title.

While marquee injuries to star pass rushers Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb hindered their charge down the stretch, among the primary knocks on Tagovailoa would be a 1-5 record against playoff-bound teams, falling to 1-6 with Saturday’s elimination.

Nonetheless, Tagovailoa remains confident over his ability to guide the Dolphins forward.

“I don’t feel any pressure at all. I have full trust in myself,” said Tagovailoa post-game. “I have full trust in what I’m capable of doing for our organisation, but outside of that we’re focusing on tonight and what happened, we’re going to simmer on this and see what we can do to get better from it.”

“He won’t be the highest paid, but they will pay him a lot of money. This offense is designed for him. You have a great situation with the head coach and quarterback, they’ll hold it against him that he didn’t take them deep into the playoffs, but Tua will be the quarterback.”

Sky Sports NFL’s Jason Bell

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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill eludes multiple Kansas City Chiefs defenders en route to a 53-yard touchdown reception.

Dolphins head coach McDaniel shouldered much of the blame for a night that saw the NFL’s leading receiver in Hill limited to just 62 yards alongside just 76 yards on the ground for one of the league’s most effective rushing attacks.

It became a story all too similar to that of Miami’s 21-14 loss to the Chiefs in Frankfurt, where they missed an opportunity to capitalise on a wobbling Kansas City offense.

“I know he (Tagovailoa) made some good plays tonight,” McDaniel said. “I know there’s plays that he wants to have back, and there’s some calls that I made that I liked and there was definitely some that I want to have back, and I think that goes across the board.

“There was a lot of really good things and we’ve all learned to have high expectations for that unit, and seven points isn’t good enough.

“We’ll have to live with that and learn from that as we try to take another step.”

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Take a look at Patrick Mahomes’ best plays from the 2023 NFL season.

Having looked every bit like worthy contenders as an improving team under McDaniel for more than half a season, the Dolphins now find themselves facing a hump in their bid to join the elite challengers.

“I think that’s what they’ll run with, that they obviously had a ton of injuries and started off hot and were able to move forward,” said Sky Sports NFL’s Ndamukong Suh. “But as an elite team you build depth and have opportunities for guys to step up and they didn’t do that in this instance.

“I think they took a step back, because they made it to the playoffs, and if you are happy with that then there is something wrong.”

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