Tagovailoa wins first NFL start as Dolphins down Rams
Rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa won in his first NFL start, Jakeem Grant scored on an 88-yard punt return, and their defense forced four first-half turnovers as the host Miami Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Rams 28-17 on Sunday afternoon.
The Rams had 471 yards of total offense to just 145 for the Dolphins.
But Miami (4-3), which has won three straight games, scored 28 consecutive first-half points, thanks in large part to four turnovers by Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
While Goff — a fifth-year pro — made rookie-type mistakes for the Rams (5-3), Tagovailoa showed relative poise after an early fumble. Tagovailoa completed 12-of-22 passes for 93 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
Goff completed 35-of-61 passes for 355 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions and two fumbles. Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp caught 11 passes for 110 yards, both game-highs.
Miami’s defense was led by Andrew Van Ginkel, who scored on a 78-yard fumble return; Kyle Van Noy, who ran 28 yards with a fumble that was forced by Shaq Lawson; and Eric Rowe and Christian Wilkins, who each had an interception. Rowe also dropped a would-be pick-six.
Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was activated but did not play due to an unspecified illness. The Rams also lost running back Darrell Henderson (thigh injury).
Tagovailoa fumbled on his first attempt to throw as Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald knocked the ball loose, and Leonard Floyd recovered at Miami’s 15-yard line.
Three plays later, it was 7-0 as the Rams scored on wide receiver Robert Woods’ 4-yard jet sweep.
Tagovailoa’s first NFL touchdown pass capped Miami’s fourth possession as he tossed a 3-yard slant to closely-guarded DeVante Parker. Wilkins, a defensive tackle and Miami’s 2019 first-round pick, set up the drive by dropping into coverage on a zone blitz and then making his interception.
Later in the quarter, there were two lost fumbles in a span of three plays. First, Miami running back Myles Gaskin lost a fumble at his own 7, recovered by Troy Hill. But then Miami’s Emmanuel Ogbah was unblocked off of his left side. His sack created a fumble, and Van Ginkel returned it for a 14-7 Dolphins lead.
Grant’s punt return — virtually untouched — made it 21-7, and Van Noy’s interception return to the Rams’ 1 set up Gaskin for a running touchdown on the next play.
Los Angeles got to Miami’s 5 at the end of the half, but two straight incompletions forced a 23-yard Kai Forbath field goal that cut the Dolphins’ lead to 28-10.
With 9:58 left in the fourth, Goff threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Woods, but Forbath missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt on Los Angeles’ next possession, virtually ending the Rams’ hopes.
–Field Level Media