The Miami Dolphins looked like a disaster after losing seven of their first eight games.
Their only victory was a one-point decision over the New England Patriots during opening weekend.
But after their Week 8 loss against the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins seem to have turned the tide.
They’ve won five straight, improving their record to 6-7, which is enough to keep them in the playoff conversation.
Miami’s defense is reverting to the unit that helped win ten games last season.
During that win streak, defensive coordinator Josh Boyer’s crew has limited opponents to only 11 points per game.
As their defense thwarts their opponents’ scoring opportunities, Tua Tagovailoa is masterfully leading the offense.
Tua On Target
It was hard to find optimistic words for Tagovailoa’s performances earlier in the season.
His inaccuracy and hesitation in throwing through tight windows were often the center of criticism against the second-year quarterback.
People also considered him a broken prospect after missing four games due to injury.
There were even talks about giving Jacoby Brissett more playing time because he looked like the steadier option than Tagovailoa.
Tua Tagovailoa stats in the 3 1/2 games he’s played since returning from finger injury (and trade deadline): 92-118, 905 yards,5 TDs, 1 INT, 4-0 record
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) December 6, 2021
But unfazed with all the criticism hurled at him, the second-year play-caller from Alabama caught fire.
First, he kept his interception rate down after throwing five picks in four games.
That’s a far cry from the lone takeaway he has thrown during their win streak.
Tua didn’t throw a pick during their first encounter against the Bills because he left the game early after a rib injury.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 5, 2021
He’s also gaining confidence in making long throws.
Tagovailoa’s longest throw during his first five games of 2021 went 40 yards.
However, he’s had completions of 57, 64, and 65 yards during Miami’s resurgence.
The Hawaii native is also finding his targets with ease.
The highest-graded QB in Week 13 before Monday Night Football…
Tua Tagovailoa 🐬 pic.twitter.com/DLaT9LehmK
— PFF (@PFF) December 6, 2021
Tagovailoa’s average completion rate is 57.6 percent in his first five games.
That number improved to 75.9 percent during his last four games, and he’s had two games wherein his completion rate went above 80 percent.
Such accuracy helped Tagovailoa achieve a passer rating of 104 or more during those four assignments.
Can He Keep Up The Pace?
There is no doubt that Tagovailoa’s game is trending up.
However, he might have difficulty keeping pace in the last four weeks of the regular season.
The New York Jets are the only team outside playoff contention that they have left on their upcoming schedule.
The Dolphins might get a break against the reeling New Orleans Saints, but that depends on Alvin Kamara’s return.
Longest active streak of games this season with a 100+ passer rating
Tua Tagovailoa 4
No one else in the NFL even has 2 straight.
*min 10 attempts pic.twitter.com/HNYwjD2oR5
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) December 6, 2021
Their remaining opponents are some of the AFC’s best.
Tennessee remains dangerous despite Derrick Henry’s absence, while the Patriots have the defense to shut down opponents.
Winning all their remaining games will give Miami better odds at making the playoffs.
But the road they must travel isn’t easy, and it takes everyone’s efforts to end their four-year postseason drought.
They’ll like their chances, given how Tagovailoa has been playing lately.
He has developed good chemistry with his receivers and activates the run game when needed.
Keeping his impressive performances up will help him silence his critics for good.NEXT: Has Tua Tagovailoa Proven Himself In Miami?