Tagovailoa, late FG lift Dolphins over Cardinals
Rookie Tua Tagovailoa – locked in a battle against fellow 23-and-under quarterback Kyler Murray – threw two touchdown passes as his Miami Dolphins defeated the host Arizona Cardinals 34-31 on Sunday afternoon.
Tagovailoa, 2-0 in NFL starts, completed 20-of-28 passes for 248 yards, with no turnovers. He also ran seven times for 35 yards as Miami (5-3) won its fourth straight game. It is Miami’s longest winning streak in four years.
Perhaps Tagovailoa’s biggest play was a third-and-1 quarterback sneak that got Miami a first down in the final minute-plus. Tagovailoa is 2-0 against Murray, having also beaten him in college when they were with Alabama and Oklahoma, respectively.
On Sunday, Murray completed 21-of-26 passes for 283 yards, with one turnover (a fumble). He also ran for a career-best 106 yards on 11 carries, but it wasn’t enough as the Cardinals (5-3) had their three-game win streak snapped.
Besides Tagovailoa, a Dolphins hero was kicker Jason Sanders, who made two field goals, including a career-best 56-yarder. His other conversion, from 50 yards, set a Dolphins record for consecutive kicks without a miss (20). That field goal, with 3:30 left in the game, was the winning score, snapping a 31-31 tie.
Miami’s defense then stopped Arizona on Murray’s final drive, forcing a 49-yard field-goal try by Zane Gonzalez. However, Gonzalez’s kick with 1:58 left in the game was short, denying Arizona a possible shot at overtime.
Miami also got a defensive touchdown for the second week in a row as Shaq Lawson scored on a 36-yard fumble return. Emmanuel Ogbah was credited with a sack on the play, poking the ball away from Murray.
The Dolphins led 24-17 at halftime, and Arizona’s biggest highlight was Murray’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk, with 50 of those yards coming in the air as Miami used no deep safety on the play.
Miami’s first-half highlight, besides Lawson’s score and Sanders’ booming kick, was a 9-yard TD pass to Preston Williams, who leaped over two defenders to get into the end zone but also injured his foot on the play. He did not return.
Arizona had the only third-quarter scores, taking a 31-24 lead.
First, the Cardinals tied the score at 24 on a 21-yard TD pass to Darrell Daniels, who outwrestled Miami cornerback Byron Jones for the ball. It was Daniels’ first career TD. Then, Arizona took a 31-24 lead on Murray’s 12-yard run.
But Miami surged back ahead, getting Mack Hollins’ 11-yard touchdown catch and then Sanders’ 50-yard field goal, which was the difference.
–Field Level Media