Mon, 26 Sep 2022

Three Takeaways: Week 2 at Ravens

Miami Dolphins
20 Sep 2022, 08:05 GMT+10

Travis Wingfield

It's a victory Monday for the ages as the Dolphins moved to 2-0 for the first time since 2018 behind a flurry of offensive fireworks.

For more coverage of the stunning win, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield is the Miami Dolphins Podcast Network's home for in-depth analysis and coverage of your team.

Here are the three takeaways from Miami's 42-38 Week 2 victory in Baltimore.

1. League-leading quarterback

It's amazing what one quarter of football can do for a player's reputation. All summer, we shared the electrifying practice clips of QB1 throwing dimes up and down the field. Now, with a six-touchdown, 469-yard performance, Tua Tagovailoa is showing the world what his teammates knew he was capable of.

Tying an NFL record with four fourth-quarter touchdowns, Tagovailoa propelled his name to the top of nearly every leaderboard with a signature performance. Completing 13-of-17 passes for 199 yards in the game's final frame pushed Tagovailoa's stat line to 36-of-50 for 469 yards and six touchdown passes on the day, good for a passer rating of 121.4.

Beyond the box score, Miami's third-year signal-caller showed a little bit of everything. He extended plays, including a strike while throwing on the move to Jaylen Waddle for the game-winning touchdown. He moved defenders with his eyes and attacked aggressively down the field. On the day, Tagovailoa attempted five passes of 20-or-more air yards and hit four of them for three touchdowns and 155 yards. On throws of 10-or-more air yards, Tagovailoa was 13-of-18 for 315 yards and four touchdowns.

Tagovailoa is making hay on third down this season. He's completed 17-of-21 passes on the money down for 226 yards, four touchdowns and 12 first downs. His passer rating on third downs is 151.1. Sprinkle in his lone fourth-down attempt of the season and he's 18-of-22 for 268 yards and five touchdowns and a 157.0 rating on "gotta have it" downs.

2. League-leading wide receivers

Miami erased a 21-point deficit as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle combined for 22 receptions, 361 yads and four touchdowns in the thrilling comeback. Teams trailing by 21 points in the final quarter entered Sunday 0-711 dating back to 2011.

This offseason, Head Coach Mike McDaniel shared his vision of eating up yards after the catch with his dynamic duo and accurate quarterback - so far, so good. Hill chewed up 67 yards after the catch while the Waddle waddled for 86 yards after the catch.

It was the first time in NFL history a team had a quarterback post a 400-plus passing yard and five-plus touchdown day while two teammates recorded 170-plus receiving yards with two touchdowns apiece.

Per Next Gen Stats, Ravens defensive backs traveled a total of 6,131 yards on Dolphins passing plays - the most by any group in a single game since the start of the 2021 season.

3. Timely production

Records don't fall without a total team effort. The Miami offensive line was sterling against a stout Ravens rush as Tagovailoa was under duress on just 9 of 53 drop backs. He's been afforded an average of 2.73 seconds time to throw this season. The running game averaged 4.77 yards per rush (6.0 between Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds, removing the two sneaks by Tagovailoa and fullback Alec Ingold).

Players without animal-themed nicknames accounted for 192 total yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Mike Gesicki plucked a fastball from the crossbar on one of Tagovailoa's best throws of the day and River Cracraft freelanced a route on a scramble play for his first career touchdown.

The defense had moments too. The comeback never happens without late stops and limiting the Ravens to 10 points in the second half. Eric Rowe came up big covering Mark Andrews in the fourth quarter on a pair of third downs. They were the only two targets out of 11 that Andrews didn't catch. Christian Wilkins made eight total tackles including some enormous plays in short-yardage situations. Wilkins, Zach Sieler, Trey Flowers, Sam Eguavoen and Elandon Roberts were all critical fixtures in a goal line stand at the start of the second quarter and a fourth-and-one rejection late in the fourth.

Enjoy this victory Monday, Dolfans.

For more analysis, takeaways and breakdowns, check out the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield, available on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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