The San Francisco 49ers The best defense in the NFL, but still a quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s Nightmare days have more to do with Miami Dolphins midfield versus it did with the defensive finish Nick Bosa or linebacker Fred Warner or reverse angle Deommodore Lenoir.
This is not an attempt to take away the Niners who won 33-17. They played a solid and complete game against one of AFC’s best teams. They blew away Mike McDaniel’s Dolphins. And San Francisco’s win helped solidify their drive to grab the top spot in NFC. Bosa effectively ended the game with a defeated sack hit late in the fourth round. Lenoir made a counterattack-like interception in the first half. (And Warner recorded a last-second interception behind the midfielder Skylar Thompson entered the game.)
But when Tagovailoa made the first and second interceptions – and the game was still tight – the 49ers scored only four midfield hits. He’s faced some pressure, but nothing he hasn’t seen before. It’s not his day.
Tagovailoa sent his team out for the first time since 2021. His early game problems held back the team and made their comeback attempt impossible.
The strange thing is that the Dolphins fired. They opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown with the receiver Trent Sherfield. It looks like Miami could hit the ground running with surprising success – and when the 49ers respond with a touchdown, the game could be a shootout.
But things slowed down when Tagovailoa started to consistently hit high passes. His completion rate (54.5%) is his worst in a game this season. Then midfielder Jimmy Garoppolo injured his left leg in the first quarter and the Dolphins seemed to get a free gift when Brock Purdy has been put into service.
Brock Purdy came on from the bench, leading the 49ers to victory
Brock Purdy came on as a substitute for the 49ers and helped them to a tough 33-17 win over the Dolphins. Purdy has 210 passes and two touches on the ball. Christian McCaffrey has 66 yards of charge, 80 yards of receiving and one touchdown.
But Purdy played well, dribbling 25 to 37 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. And Tagovailoa cannot withdraw money. He continued to send the card via airmail. And in the end, they started beating Miami. He made his first intercept in more than 190 attempts. And then on the first turn of the next hit, he throws another pick. That second interception was the most serious, with Tua firing by mistake Tireek Hill. The pass unfortunately slipped from Hill’s hand and into Lenoir’s hand.
The first intercept was a nightmare. Because of pressure, Tua kicked the ball a bit early and ran back unlucky. Jeff Wilson fell in the middle of the road. That makes for an easy interception, ensuring the 49ers’ safety Jimmie ward gets more dramatic by outmaneuvering Superman than Wilson.
The Dolphins cannot win without playing well in midfield. We saw that when Tua missed time because of a concussion. Miami was badly played by Thompson in QB and Bridgewater Cotton. And the Dolphins can’t win. So with Tagovailoa struggling, he suffered his first loss as a starter this year.
It is not a game without consequences. Dolphins are in a tough fight with buffalo bill in the race for the top spot in the AFC East. Maybe Miami can look back on this game and appreciate the fact that their quarterback suffered from air sickness. Maybe this is a story they laugh at after a big playoff. They certainly hope it’s not a sign of something more serious in Tagovailoa’s game.
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Prior to joining FOX Sports as an AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Corporation and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalytics.
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