The Story :
Ladies and gentlemen…the moment we’ve all be waiting for has arrived at last. Since Dan Marino’s final snap in a Miami Dolphin uniform over two decades ago, Fins fans have been waiting for a franchise QB to take the reins. The time has finally come, where all that patience pays dividends; the era of Tua Tagovailoa begins.
In a remarkable turn of events, Tua got the starting nod from coach Flores in the middle of the week 7 bye. Fitz was playing well overall and the dolphins had won three out of the last four, so why the sudden switch? Flores put it simply: “We feel like that’s the best thing for the team. We’ve talked about it as a staff, with Chris (General Manager Chris Grier), personnel department, just felt like it was the best move for the team right now. That’s how we’re going to move forward.”
From the outside looking in, it certainly felt like the move to play Tua after the bye was in the plans for a while, and the Dolphins brass stuck to their guns with the bye week moving from week 11 to week seven due to the NFL’s handling of Covid-19. Unleashing the 5th overall pick six weeks earlier than previously expected against one of the best defenses in the league, this will be an incredible first test for the young prodigy.
For the first time in a long time, its not only the fans who are clamoring to see this game. Tua has brought the national spotlight to Hard Rock Stadium. So, the question remains: will Tua feast or famine in his first game?
The Game :
Dolphins +3.5 & Over/Under 46
The Dolphins check in at 3-3 off a 2-game win streak, while the Rams are sitting at 5-2, clawing away for the top spot in the NFC West. This is a crucial week for both squads, as each have realistic aspirations to win their respective divisions.
The Los Angeles offense is picking up steam in their 2020 campaign; through seven weeks they check in 10th in yards per game, 15th in points per game, and 5th in offensive DVOA. The ground game operates with a committee of Darrel Henderson, Malcolm Brown, and a sprinkle of Cam Akers. Through the air, Jared Geoff has been good at spreading out the ball; finding a plethora of playmakers in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Gerald Everett. Miami’s high-priced cornerback duo of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are going to have to show they’re worth every penny.
The Rams defense is no slouch either; currently ranked 6th in yards allowed, 5th in points allowed, and 11th in DVOA. Led by the human wrecking ball himself, Aaron Donald, the Rams also pressure the quarterback more than any other team in the league. Jalen Ramsey also grades out as a top six player at his position this year. No key Ram’s defensive players will be out this week.
It will be a difficult test for the rookie Tagovailoa.
The Prediction :
Look for this to be a low scoring game with both defenses playing particularly well in recent weeks. The Dolphins will have to focus on being consistent against the run and an early lead will allow them to tee off in the passing game, as we saw against the San Francisco 49ers. Look for the preseason connection of Tua to Preston Williams to shine here, as he takes advantage of the cornerbacks not named Jalen Ramsey on the Rams defense.
Dolphins WIN 24 – 20.
By: Tony Longobardo