Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa have terrible losing night against Chargers, who needed the win

A few weeks ago there was no way to tell Miami dolphins would collapse without warning. They were still fighting Buffalo Tickets for the AFC East crown. Tua Tagovailoa was the MVP buzz.

The Dolphins didn’t play a great second half against the Houston Texans in Week 12, but they were leading 30-0 at halftime. There were no warning signs.

There are alarms going off after Sunday night. The Dolphins chained a tough loss against the san francisco 49ers last week with another horrible game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The offense did almost nothing in a 23-17 loss. For those using Sunday night to judge Tagovailoa against the player selected right after him in the 2020 draft, the Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, Sunday night was a dominating victory for Herbert. Herbert was very good most of the game and Tagovailoa played one of the worst games a quarterback has had this season.

For the Chargers, it was a huge result for their playoff hopes. The Chargers prevented the Kansas City Chiefs to clinch AFC West at the moment, but more importantly, they have hope at 7-6 to enter as a wild-card team. The Dolphins are still in line to make the playoffs at 8-5, but the good vibes from them before December are gone.

More than just a loss, the Dolphins and their quarterback are nothing like what we’ve seen in the first three months of the season.

Dolphins struggle from the start

It was a horrible first half for the Dolphins. The offense was stopped dead from the start. The only big game was when Tyreek Hill happened to have a fumble bounces off his hands and he ran around the right end for 57 yards and a touchdown. At halftime, the Dolphins had 55 yards from scrimmage. The Chargers’ defense has been really bad the past few weeks, without several key players, and the Dolphins had five first downs before halftime. Tagovailoa completed 20% of his passes before halftime, the lowest first-half completion percentage of any game this season, according to NBC.

The Dolphins played a miserable half and ended it appropriately, with a terrible coaching decision that gave the Chargers a touchdown. On third and first base at the 17-yard line, the Dolphins lined up most of their defense in the end zone. The Chargers just made an underhand pass to Thank you, who had room to run and reached the 1-yard line. Once the Chargers reached the 1-yard line, they decided to go for it on fourth down, and Ekeler ran for a touchdown. The Dolphins coaches gave the Chargers a touchdown as a gift with bad strategy.

The Chargers defensive backs mostly pressed the Dolphins receivers, and Tagovailoa didn’t have open targets or miss when he had the chance. Tagovailoa was 3 of 17 for 25 yards in the third quarter when he finally made a big play.

Tagovailoa threw deep on the left sideline and Hill caught it, then ran the rest of the way for a 60-yard touchdown. The Chargers had dominated the game up to this point and it looked like they were up 28. In reality, their lead was only 17-14 after Hill’s touchdown. Miami had a chance.

But Tagovailoa and the attack could not do anything, once again.

Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins struggled against the Chargers.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins struggled against the Chargers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Chargers claim victory

The rest of the Chargers’ win was a slow death for the Dolphins. Hill’s play sparked nothing for the Dolphins offense. The next two drives, with the game there for the taking, resulted in two punts. The Chargers eventually went on a long field-goal run and took a 23-14 lead with 2:40 to go.

The Chargers have had a tough season with tough injuries and losses, but Sunday’s win gives them a lot of hope. It’s as good as the Chargers have played all season. Herbert had 367 yards and a touchdown. It was a performance the Chargers desperately needed.

The Dolphins will have to adapt, and quickly. If the teams will be physical with their receivers, Miami must find a counterattack. They have a tough game in Week 15, Saturday night at the Buffalo Bills. Miami is still in good shape to make the playoffs, but the margin for error is shrinking.

Dolphins first-year coach Mike McDaniel is off to a great start for 12 weeks. Now we’ll see if he can handle a crisis, which includes figuring out how to get his young quarterback back on track.

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