Missed Opportunity

Well, that was a rough game to watch for Dolfans! It started off with an exhilarating bang when Trent Sherfield housed that 14-yard hitch and took it 75 yards to paydirt- BUT WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT?!? We were feeling so good at the beginning but now we are still at a bit of a loss because this was definitely Tua’s worst performance since the loss at Tennessee last season. Tua has awakened the national media’s awareness to his exceptional talent and has received a lot of praise for his MVP level play this season. Rightfully so. However, he does deserve criticism after this game because his main superpower let him down in this game. His accuracy was anything but so on Sunday. Tagovailoa had guys running wide open all game and just missed them. McDaniel’s play calling was on point, but his savant quarterback’s execution was not.

Where did the Accuracy Go?

The part that makes this more confusing is that we could see on film what the Titans were doing to make it tough on Tua last season (rushing four mixing up zone and man behind it to eliminate any receiver separation), but when you look at the film of Sunday’s game against the 49ers, it just makes you scratch your head even more. San Francisco played a lot of zone coverage and Tua has the #1 QBR in the league against zone coverage. It’s not that Tua was a complete mess on every play. Conversely, Tua did everything right on almost every play except for the pass accuracy. He diagnosed the coverage in pre snap correctly and he was making the right reads as well. Tua was not fooled by anything San Francisco did defensively, he just lacked his usual sharpness.

What Could Have Been….

It wasn’t a game where the tension in the air or the pressure from the defensive line was causing Tua to get sped up, panic, and make poor decisions. The darts just weren’t hitting the target. There were so many opportunities for Tua to have another 450+ yard game like he had against Baltimore and the trigger man many affectionately refer to as the Samoan Sniper just missed the target way too many times and it cost them the game. The 49ers played a lot of quarters coverage to make up for the difficult task of trying to cover the strength of the Dolphins offense with the weakness of their defense. Waddle broke free in wide open spaces multiple times and Tua just missed on throws to him over and over. Waddle could have had 100 yards receiving in the first half alone. Instead, he ended the game with only 1 catch for 9 yards. I am not sure why, but usually when a quarterback keeps missing throws high it’s because he’s simply way too juiced up for a game. I can’t say for sure why Tua was shooting like Shaq at the line in his prime, but my best guess is that he desperately wanted to win this game for his head coach Mike McDaniel, and he just overcooked his passes instead of playing his game like he normally does.

Inside the Throws

Jeff Wilson got wide open behind the defense on a wheel route. Tua saw it early before it was open and threw it early with good anticipation. It was a perfect call by McDaniel and the perfect read by Tua. Jeff Wilson dropped it, but Tua threw the ball too far outside and realistically that would have been a very tough catch for a running back to make. If Tagovailoa puts that ball inside on the numbers like he was supposed to so that Wilson could have looked it into his mitts, and it would have been another big play and chunk yardage touchdown. Tua had Sherfield wide open for an in the middle of the field 30-yard catch, all he had to do was hit the normal bucket shot over the linebacker and under the safety like he has done all season and it’s another chain moving big play that puts Sherf over 100 yards receiving. Tua has been frustrating linebackers all year dropping those bucket passes in over their heads. Instead, Tagovailoa slightly underthrows that one and Warner, who had gained just enough depth in coverage, was able to get his fingertips on it, and break up the pass.

Tua also had Tyreek Hill wide open for an easy rollout pass that McDaniel called specifically to give his trigger man an easy layup to settle him down, but Tua threw it high and behind his receiver for his first interception in 180 attempts. That was Tua’s first interception since the first half of the dramatic Baltimore Ravens comeback game in week two of this season! That’s an impressively long streak for someone who has thrown the ball as much as Tua has this season and was the longest active streak in the NFL. Because of all the turnovers the narrative coming out of this game will be that the number 1 rated defense exposed this Miami offense as being frauds, but if you watch the film that is definitely not the case.

Lack of Balance

The Dolphins did not run the ball all game and their backup tackles struggled with pass protection in obvious passing situations but even still, there were so many plays where the Dolphins offense put those world class Niner linebackers and safeties in conflict. It was a completely unbalanced attack and the Dolphins were getting what they wanted anyways. I wasn’t sure how well what the Dolphins like to do on offense would work against the 49ers considering that they are the best defense in football and that their studs are so familiar with Miami’s scheme. However, I was pleasantly surprised that we saw some of the same wide-open routes that McDaniel’s offense has been able to create all season. We saw some of the same conflicts from the linebackers that we have seen all season. We saw the niner safeties getting beat in the deep middle part of the field which the advanced metrics say is what their secondary defends the best in the league. We did see the 49ers’ cover corners struggle to hang with the speed of Waddle, Hill, and Sherfield. Which is very encouraging.

Emotional McDaniel

As poorly as Tua played, the Dolphins were still driving in the 4th quarter with a chance to take the lead with 6 minutes to go before the Gesicki catch on 4th and 2 yards to go was overturned. It was clearly not a catch after the review, but it was still fun to see Coach McDaniel get heated and yelling at the referees to the point where the Dolphins’ assistant coaches had to hold the hobbit back. We have seen that passion but we haven’t seen that kind of fire from McDaniel all season and it was inspiring to see his passion bubble over in that moment. McDaniel is willing to fight for his team and can be a goon when he needs to be. You love to see it, hate that it had to be on a call that Mystic Mike was wrong on.

Dre Greenlaw Breaking Hearts

On that 4th down play Tua made the right read in his progression as Gesicki was breaking open, but the pure athleticism of Greenlaw quickly closed that space and made that have to be a stellar catch by Gesicki and the former Nittany Lion just couldn’t come up with it. A part of me wishes Greenlaw had stickier coverage because if Tua would have come off that route and looked backside he would have noticed the 49ers decided to double Jaylen Waddle and left the flat completely uncovered, which would have been an easy pitch and catch to convert the first down and extend the drive. But when you see a guy, you have to let it fly so I don’t fault Tua at all for pulling the trigger in that spot. The 49ers have some dynamic linebackers and you just have to tip your cap to Greenlaw for making that game saving play. The Dolphins would have been deep in scoring position at the 49ers’ 36-yard line and Tua has been the most clutch quarterback in clutch moments all season. I like the Dolphins’ chances to finish that drive and take the lead. But we will never know now. The 49ers’ defense did the job and ended the drive which essentially was the ballgame as well.

Unfair Refs?

Some Dolfans feel hard done by some ticky tack calls from the referees, namely the pass interference against Kohou which led to the 49ers’ second score, the weak holding call against Robert Hunt that stalled a promising Dolphins drive in the 2nd half, and the overturning of the catch on 3rd down by Sherfield where the ball moved but it looked like he had both hands underneath the ball and never lost control which led to McDaniel deciding to make a crazy gusty call to go for it from his own 18 yard line with 9 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. To that I say, if the Dolphins made the plays they were supposed to make on Sunday, no Dolfan would be complaining about those calls today.

Defensive Errors

Never leave it up to the refs. That is not just talking about the Dolphins offense. The defense did a commendable job of bottling up the 49ers’ scary good running attack and getting pressure on the quarterback, but there were times when Boyer called the perfect defense and Rowe, and Chubb were in perfect position to make a play and they couldn’t get Deebo Samuel on the ground. Allowing him to turn a big loss into a solid gain to keep them on schedule. Wilkins and Deiter did all that they could in the middle of that defensive line to junk up and disrupt what San Fran was trying to do, but sometimes they did not have backup. Deiter had Purdy in a bear hug on a quarterback sneak on 4th down and Rowe was standing there like a spectating pedestrian instead of filling the open gap and a second effort from the rookie QB got his team the first down. That was a winning play for the 49ers that could have changed the complexion of the game if the Dolphins got a stop in that spot. It would have ended a drive that milked the clock and ended with a touchdown and it would have given the Dolphins the ball in great field position.

Nasty Niner Revenge!

This was a revenge game for the 49ers. They remember the last time the Dolphins came up to Santa Clara in 2020 and they wanted to get that nasty taste out of their mouths. This game had extra meaning with how many players on the field were former teammates and how many coaches on the sidelines were former colleagues. Nick Bosa was playing against his hometown team and had 50 family members and friends in the stands all wearing Dolphins colors and rooting for the Dolphins to win over their own kin. Bosa wanted to wave his loved one’s goodbye after getting a win for his squad and he did that. Now the Dolphins must lick their wounds and get ready to go again next week against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football in what is now a must win game.

Have Faith in Tua

I believe the Dolphins will rebound. I believe Tua won’t have another performance like that for the rest of the season and will shut down all of the Tua haters who have suddenly crawled out of their holes to bravely start chirping again after cowardly hibernating all season. Tua haters have been waiting so long for a bad Tua performance to allow them to criticize the Hawaiian lefty again. To those Tua haters I say, don’t hold your breaths for too long waiting for another game like this one from the Samoan Sniper and this Dolphins offense. You just might asphyxiate. Fins up!


Leave a Replay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


Hello fellow sports fans! My name is Joseph Jordan. Welcome to our page. Welcome to our website. I hope you are as deeply passionate about sports as I am. Julien and I have spent a lot of time writing our sports opinions on Facebook over the years. … Read More>>


Follow Us

Your The Sports. Your Inbox. Everyday