Given his success in 2022, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had an uncharacteristically poor performance against the 49ers last week.
He finished 18-of-33 for 295 yards with two touchdowns, a pair of interceptions, and a lost fumble. Tagovialoa hadn’t thrown an interception since September. He hadn’t had a game with multiple giveaways since the Week Two victory over Baltimore.
On Wednesday, head coach Mike McDaniel was asked what Tagovailoa needs to do this week to get back on track against the Chargers on Sunday.
“I think this is such a cool opportunity for each and every player that this is part of the NFL experience, is you can have some hot streaks where you’re doing well more often than not, and then you can have a game that there’s a lot more plays that you’d like to have back,” McDaniel said. “From a football perspective, that’s not — everything that went wrong wasn’t a direct result of the quarterback. It never is exactly like that. However, we all know that he wants to play as well as he can and he thinks that he could have done better in that game.
“So that is life in the NFL and whether you have seven Super Bowl rings or you haven’t been to a playoff game yet or you’re a rookie, you’re a 10-year vet, you’re a five-year vet; you will always — player, coach, anybody involved — be going through that experience, so that it is not something that, hey, it doesn’t happen to the best ones ever to do it. Every person has to go through that and so your objective is to get better from it, and that’s the world we live in.”
San Francisco is the league’s best defense, as the team is No. 1 in yards allowed and points allowed. So if there’s any opponent that would cause Tagovailoa to struggle, it’s the 49ers. McDaniel noted it’s a unit that has been together for a while and good defenses make QBs fit passes into smaller windows.
“I think the way we look at it is you want to be able to do well against good defenses,” McDaniel said. “That’s the objective if you’re trying to be great yourself. And they force you to truly execute and if you’re not on, they make you pay, in which case they did this past game.”
Tagovailoa still leads the league in passer rating (112.0), yards per attempt (9.0), yards per completion (13.2), and touchdown rate (6.6 percent). With the Dolphins taking on a Chargers team that’s No. 26 in yards allowed and No. 30 in points allowed on Sunday, there’s a solid chance Tagovailoa will get back on track.