MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a big step forward in his young career last weekend.
Tua led the Dolphins on an improbable comeback in Baltimore, putting up record-setting numbers in the process.
Miami trailed 28-7 at halftime and 35-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Not to Tagovailoa or his speedy wideouts, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
The numbers they put up in Miami’s 42-38 win were what the kids call video game stats.
Tua completed 36 of 50 passes for 461 yards and six touchdowns.
Hill caught 11 balls for 190 yards and a pair of scores, and Waddle also hauled in 11 passes for 171 yards and, also, two touchdowns.
They’ve been the talk of the league in the days following.
On Wednesday, the league responded.
Tagovailoa was named the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
Was it a sign of things to come? Time will tell.
For now, it’s a big step forward in the development and maturation of the third-year quarterback’s career.
Speaking to the media earlier this week, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel praised his QB, knowing how much work the 24-year-old has put in to reach this point.
“I think that’s great for him. He deserves it,” McDaniel said. “None of it was given at all. He earned every ounce of that which I know players respect a great deal, so I think that benefits everybody players and coaches included.”
Tagovailoa and the Dolphins have another massive test ahead of them in the form of the Buffalo Bills.
Somewhat appropriately considering their name, the Bills have been steamrolling their opponents so far this season, defeating both the defending Super Bowl champion LA Rams and the normally formidable Tennessee Titans in convincing fashion en route to a 2-0 record.
Miami is also 2-0.
On Sunday the division rivals will meet at Hard Rock Stadium.
Buffalo has had the Dolphins number in recent years, including a 35-0 embarrassment during Miami’s home opener last season.
Perhaps this year things will be different.