Tua Tracker: How did NFL experts, analysts grade Dolphins QB Tagovailoa vs. the Chiefs?
Tua Tagovailoa faced a former MVP and Super Bowl champion in Patrick Mahomes on Sunday, and the Dolphins' rookie quarterback rose to the occasion with an impressive, if doomed, comeback effort.
The Dolphins lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 33-27, but the final score never would have been that close without late heroics from the No. 5 pick out of Alabama. Tua finished the game 28 of 48 passing for 316 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, the first of his career. Tagovailoa also ran six times for 24 yards and another TD.
Tua led scoring drives on all three fourth-quarter possessions, including his second touchdown pass of the game to tight end Mike Gesicki.
Did his strong finish do enough to impress? NFL experts, analysts and observers shared their thoughts on the rookie's performance on social media.
Instant takeaways:5 things we learned from Dolphins' loss to Chiefs
Tua compares with Mahomes ... kind of
Tagovailoa got the Dolphins out to an early lead, thanks in part to the defense grabbing rare interceptions from Mahomes.
Tua rolled out to his left and found Gesicki, who is fast becoming a favorite target, at the goal line for a touchdown that drew lofty comparisons.
Tony Romo gets his first look at Tua
This was the first time the Dolphins have played in front of the CBS A-team of announcers in Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.
Romo was for the most part positive of Tua, imploring viewers to "look at his eyes" as the rookie looked off defensive backs to open up passing lanes. Even on misses, Romo said Tagovailoa was looking in the right places.
He did, however, chastise Tua for his two "rookie mistakes": the interception he threw to Tyrann Mathieu on a deep ball intended for Jakeem Grant, and the safety he took after the Dolphins had stripped the ball on the Chiefs' previous drive.
Romo also said the Chiefs' disguising coverages was working on the rookie.
CBS' halftime analysis included mild criticism from Boomer Esiason, though he also said "some of these passes are perfect."
About that first interception ...
Yes, Tua Tagovailoa now has a pick under his belt. But the experts on Twitter shifted blame for that interception.
Some did say Tua needed to get it deeper.
Some put it on intended target Jakeem Grant (or the Dolphins' lack of playmakers).
And some just notched it up as "Honey Badger don't care.'
Criticism builds for stagnant Dolphins offense
When Tua is on the field, there are times when the Dolphins fail to move the ball effectively, as former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz continues to point out.
He was far from alone.
And Tua did draw criticism in the second half, even on some of the incredible plays.
Tua lights it up in fourth quarter rally
Much like he did in the Dolphins' comeback win at Arizona, Tagovailoa turned the view of his performance around after a furious late rally. He was 12 of 16 for 150 yards with a touchdown, plus some key scrambles and a TD on a quarterback sneak, in the fourth quarter, and what was a 30-10 deficit somehow ended in a close 33-27 loss.
The late showcase impressed observers near and far from Hard Rock Stadium.