The Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers gave us a late Sunday afternoon thriller and lived up to the hype of being the game of the week that most people didn’t have available to watch.
Miami finished off the Chargers, 36-34, as their defense stepped up to lock down a victory on the road. But Tua Tagovailoa was the story of this game. He outshined Justin Herbert on this day and proved to many (like me) that the Dolphins were justified in selecting him in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Tua and Tyreek Hill staked their claim in Week 1 for the best quarterback-wide receiver duo in the league. They picked up right where they left off last season before Tagovailoa’s injuries — 466-yard day through the air for Tua with three touchdown passes, two of which were to Hill, who also had 215 yards receiving.
It’s only the first game of the year, but many analysts will likely rank Tagovailoa among the league’s top QBs moving forward. This game was a back-and-forth battle where the teams traded the lead multiple times. I called this the game everyone should watch during Week 1, although it was buried on the late afternoon slate. Most folks will only see highlights, but they will be captivated once they do.
While the teams battled closely throughout the game, Herbert had a mediocre overall performance. It did not resemble that of a $262 million man. He completed 69 percent of his passes but had just one TD pass and 228 yards. Tagovailoa got the best in their head-to-head battle and won the game. Herbert and the Chargers won last year’s matchup, 23-17. After today’s shootout, I’d love to see these teams again in a wildcard or divisional round game in the postseason.
Anytime these teams get together with Tua and Herbert headlining, it will be must-see TV. The only thing better would be them in the same division, so we got two heavyweight bouts every year from them. It’s likely Tagovailoa vs. Herbert stole the show in Week 1. The NFL needs to put these guys in prime time for their next head-to-head matchup.
That 2020 draft class is beginning to look like one of the best we’ve seen in some time. Tua, Herbert, Joe Burrow (although he struggled in Week 1), and Jalen Hurts (as a second-round pick) have all made names for themselves in the NFL. Burrow, Hurts, and Herbert made Pro Bowls in their first three years. Burrow and Hurts also led their teams to Super Bowl appearances in back-to-back seasons. If the Dolphins keep Tagovailoa upright, it looks like he’s well on his way.
Tom Brady might be gone, and Aaron Rodgers is over the hill, but the league is still thriving behind all these young QBs making a mark — in some cases immediately.
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