Dolphins following AFC East rival’s blueprint with Tua Tagovailoa playing like an MVP alongside Tyreek Hill


One of the most common ways to win in the NFL is to surround a rookie quarterback with as much talent as possible. The Miami Dolphins are doing it now with their boyfriend Tua Tagovailoa, number five in the 2020 NFL Draft, surrounding him with pass catchers like three-time All-Pro first-team Tyreke Hill and Jaylen Waddle, number six. in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Buffalo Bills followed the plan in 2020 with Josh Allen, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, acquiring Pro Bowl wide receiver Stephon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for four draft picks, including a first-round pick. The turnaround was instant: the Bills went 13-3 and achieved their first AFC Championship since their glory days in the 1990s. Diggs became the first Super Bowl-era player since 1966 to lead the NFL in receiving yards (1,535) in his first season with a new team, when Allen finished second in MVP to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Allen stats (2018-2020) – without and with Diggs

AllenWithout Diggs*With Diggs


56.3% (39th)

69.2% (4th)

Pass YPG

184.4 (35th)

284.0 (6th place)

Pass Yards / Att

6.6 (37th)

7.9 (5th place)


30-21 (34th)

37-10 (6th)

Passive Rating

78.2 (39th)

107.2 (4th)

* Among 40 QBs with over 300 passes in 2018-2019

The 7-3 Miami Dolphins, leading the AFC East, who had already beaten the Bills, had the same success just after the middle of the 2022 season. Their off-season acquisition of wide receiver Tyreke Hill, a 2010 All-Decade Team member, from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for five draft picks saw Hill lead the NFL in receptions (81) and receiving yards. (1148). He found instant chemistry with Tagovailoa, who puts up numbers that make him a league MVP contender, and Hill’s instant success with the Dolphins borders on history, considering he’s 1,951 receiving yards, which counts as second. most in a season in NFL history since 1964 Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson in 2012.

The threat from Hill also opened the field for second-year Jaylen Waddle, who set an NFL rookie receiving record with 104 as his 878 receiving yards in 2022 rank fifth in the league and he’s on pace with 1,492 yards. This would ruin his freshman year by a total of 1,015.

“This is fun, dude. I feel like a guy like Jaylen Waddle doesn’t get enough recognition for what he’s really doing, sort of like me at the start of my career.” — Hill. said November 11, when asked about the success of his teammates this season. “So, just to see him succeed and just to see guys like Tua. [Tagovailoa] Success in this league and the whole offensive line is doing its job, man, it makes me smile. I’m just happy to be a witness to all of this.”

Freshman head coach Mike McDaniel realized he knew Hill’s joining the Dolphins would be “different” back in the spring, in the first weeks of organized team events, after seeing him run a certain route.

“There was a certain route that I think we [Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur and McDaniel] invented in 2013 [when McDaniel was Washington’s wide receivers coach]. … it’s a deeper path of penetration that not everyone can go through because it’s time to play and go so deep you don’t always have protection for it.” – McDaniel said November 9. “It kind of picked up steam and we used it the most when we had Julio Jones (when McDaniel was the Atlanta Falcons offensive assistant from 2015 to 2016) who was incredible on the route. Then we saw Tyrek. [Hill] in, I think this was probably the fourth OTA if my boot camp setup schedule is right in my brain when it [Hill] launched it. I just had a lot of deliberate repetition while watching this [route] ran with exceptional speed, depth, intent, and it was like “Wow.” I was lucky to be around Andre Johnson in his prime, Julio Jones in his prime, Josh Gordon, Pierre Garcon, the league leaders in admissions. All these great, great players and he [Hill] is different. Back then at OTA, we knew that yes, this is a different matter.”

Hill’s presence has accelerated Tagovailoa’s development, with third-year quarterback jumping from creating a batting average in his first two seasons, 2020 and 2021, to playing as Dolphin Hall of Famer Dan Marino in this season’s 3rd year. . The fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft currently leads the NFL in yards per pass attempt (9.1) and passer rating (118.4), tying Tom Brady for the league lead in touchdowns to interceptions ratio (6:1) . The last time a Dolphins passer led the NFL in passer rating was in 1984, when Marino became the NFL MVP, leading Miami to their last Super Bowl appearance.

Tua’s career statistics – without and with Tyreke Hill

TagovailoaNo hillwith the hill


66.2% (17th place)

71.0% (2nd)

Pass YPG

194.2 (30th)

283.1 (5th)

Pass Yards / Att

6.6 (27th)

9.1 (1st)


27-15 (23rd)

18-3 (T-1st)

Passive Rating

88.8 (24th)

118.4 (1st)

* In March 2022, the Dolphins traded a first-round pick of five for Hill.

Tagovailoa shifted much of the credit for his breakthrough to himself and his head coach for using Hill and Waddle in a way that put him in the best position to thrive.

“I think Coach Mike [McDaniel] copes well with the task in attack,” Tagovailoa said. said earlier in November. “He has a lot of, people would say, window dressing. He doesn’t like the term because it’s just part of our offense with movement, displacement, movement. This is part of what we do. So I think it’s a big credit for what our head coach has done in setups and things like that to help us get into those situations. We can say I’m going out and throwing Tyreek [Hill] as well as [Jaylen] Waddling and all these other guys catching and running. [McDaniel] keeps praising other people, but he doesn’t get as much praise as I think he should, and a lot of that is because of him.”

To be fair to the quarterback, credit goes to him for going the McDaniel route as the Dolphins are undefeated, 7-0, this season when Tagovailoa has played the entire game this season. Miami’s offensive scoring with a Year 3 passer on the field — 6.79 yards per game — is equivalent to the third-best rush by any team in a season during the Super Bowl era. Four of the five previous teams that have dribbled this field with such great success in every game have been led by players who have become that season’s league MVPs.

Most yards/games in a season during the Super Bowl era (since 1966)

TeamYards/PlayNFL MVP on the team?

2000 sheep



2018 Chiefs



2011 Saints



2004 Colts



2016 Falcons



* Dolphins 2022: 6.79 yards per game with Tua Tagovailoa on the field

Shaking off the rust after a two-game absence with a concussion, Tagovailoa shone by becoming the first player in NFL history to have a passer rating of 135 or higher in three consecutive games with at least 30 pass attempts in each competition. His three consecutive games with three or more passing touchdowns and no interceptions make up the sixth longest such streak in NFL history.

Tua Tagovailoa’s last three games

Tagovailoapassage yardsTD-INTPassive Rating

8 weeks for maintenance




9 weeks in CHI




Week 10 vs. CLE




*First player in NFL history with a 135+ passer rating in three consecutive games (minimum 30 attempts in each game)

“I think the point is that coach Mike [McDaniel] helped us offensively because he kind of adapted the offense to what we do best,” Tagovailoa said. that I’m good at throwing and stuff while you watch their movie when they were with [San Francisco] 49ers. They did things a little differently because of what these guys were good at and what they liked. … So there aren’t too many “Why are we doing this?” questions. or “Why do we do this?” It’s more like, “How do you see this game if they get it or if they get it? How do you think he will handle it, and what do you think I should do with the ball in this matter?” Just more of these conversations.”

Arrival of Hill – NFL leader in touchdowns 20 or more (34), 30 or more yards (29), 40 or more yards (23), 50 or more yards (14) and 60 or more yards (10) since entering the league in 2016 — and McDaniel in Miami led Tagovailoa to turn the narrative that his deep throwing ability is a weakness on its head as he emerged as one of the NFL’s top passers in 2022.

In deep passes, defined as passes of 20 or more yards, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Tagovailoa leads the league in completion percentage (60.0%) and passes per attempt (19.6), ranking fifth in completion ( eighteen). ) and third in passer rating (109.7) on such shots. He nearly matched his career total in 20+ yard passes (26 completions) in eight games played this season (18 completions).

Tua on NFL career deep passing (20+ yards)








Pass Yards / Att






Passive Rating



* Top 5 in the NFL

“Mmm boy, I think I’ve grown a lot with deep balls, yes.” – Tagovailoa said sarcastically on November 2, when asked where he has improved the most this season. “Don’t we think? Yes. It was probably a thin jab, but it was a jab.”

However, McDaniel said on Monday his favorite thing about this year’s Dolphins is that no one on the roster is happy with their improvement and a 7-3 start, with AFC East being one of three divisions with all four teams have won at least six victories. until the 11th week after the reorganization of the division in…