Bill Blichick knows that Miami Dolphins quarterback TuaTagovailoa is a good deep ball thrower. New England Patriots developed a defensive strategy to stop big plays.
Tagovailoa was unfairly referred to as “The Guy Who Can’t throw Deep” but he has now completely rewritten that assessment. This week, the QB was asked if he still believed that anyone doubted his ability to throw deep. Tua laughed and replied: “I don’t care.” Tagovailoa is, in fact, so dangerous with the deep ball that the smartest defensive mind in the NFL (Belichick) forced the Dolphins QB to win with the quick passing game and the running attack.
That’s what Tua did.
He beat a novel defensive concept, which Braxton Berrios said he had never seen before. We kind of expected a twist but it was totally different. We adjust during the game. Try to pick up anything you can on the sideline. Berrios replied, “No, not like that.” What was surprising about the defense’s base, which had three high-safeties?
“It was an odd look,” River Cracraft said to FOX Sports. It was unpredictable, and they are good at hiding. They do it all the time. It’s what they do. You just have to adjust on the spot. Tagovailoa tortured Belichick’s defence with paper cut. The paper cuts were small but painful. The Dolphins beat the Patriots 24-17 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Tagovailoa is now 5-0 against Belichick.
“It was a unique game plan,” coach Mike McDaniel said. “I thought guys did a good job of adapting to the odd spots that the guys were in. Tagovailoa finished the first half of the game against the Patriots by going 7 of 7 and scoring a touchdown. Miami was looking in total control during the drive. Tagovailoa dropped a dime to Berrios to get the Dolphins inside the 5-yard line, with an arcing pass sneaking into the window between defensive backs Marcus Jones and Christian Gonzalez.
Some games, the Dolphins rely almost completely on Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Belichick forced Tua to stay away from these two guys. Tua didn’t mind either. He targeted nine different receivers and six of those pass-catchers had 20 yards or more.
Was Hill, who finished with five catches for 40 yards and a touchdown, fazed by what New England was doing defensively?
“Nope, not fazed at all,” Hill told told FOX Sports.
It wasn’t perfect. Tagovailoa lost it in the fourth-quarter, when he threw a deep pass to Hill as a way to test Christian Gonzalez. The cornerback proved why the Patriots selected him in the first-round. Gonzalez caught the ball that was thrown severely under to Hill. The cornerback (6’2″) won the catch contest against the shorter Hill (5’10”) New England could not punish Miami for its turnover. The Patriots were three-and out. And the Dolphins then punished the Patriots for their missed opportunity.
When the Dolphins got the ball back, Raheem Mostert went 43 yards on the first play of the drive. New England was right on Miami’s heels until the very end. McDaniel hung on. “I kinda knew it. I wish I had told people about him and encouraged them to add him to their fantasy teams. “
The Dolphins’ offense may not have scored 36 points as it did in week 1. Miami is still the NFL’s best offense. The team was able to withstand the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and even a few PVC pipes. Berrios said, “Three high safety positions.” They were rolling and rotating down, so you could get different looks. This base alignment was still new. The three safety points were numbered
and they tried to keep the players in front. Play top-down and make us work for it. We had some great drives. There were some long drives. “It was like a chess game.”
It was not just the Patriots’ defense that did crazy stuff. What’s the craziest instance? On a Dolphins field goal attempt Brenden Schooler, a special teams standout, came into motion (like Hill streaking through a formation), and timed his run with the snap. He easily moved into position to make an amazing block. Belichick is known for this kind of twist. It’s a wrinkle that other NFL teams, according to Cris Collinsworth of NBC, will certainly copy. Belichick’s game plan was clearly tailored to Tua with the extra defensive backs, and an empty box. Tua was shown a lot of respect. Tagovailoa stated, “I think that they are doing a great job in adjusting during the game.” “That’s a really big, huge thing for any Bill Belichick defence,” Tagovailoa said. You can only see so much, but if an explosive is triggered or something else happens, expect things to change. Belichick’s plan will need to be re-evaluated after this game. Or, he will have to hope that New England’s offensive can score more points than 17. Matthew Judon, along with his teammates, fought hard to keep New England in the game. They did so after their Week 1 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. “I know we lost. I know that it looks bad. You start with
. Judon stated after the match, “But it’s still not a bad squad.” “I don’t think we are going to give up on ourselves here or in the dressing room. “
But Mac Jones and his offense didn’t seem able to take advantage of the many chances the defense gave them. It was Vic Fangio’s fancy, frenetic defense that threw New England offensive line into confusion. The Dolphins still managed to get seven QB hits, and four sacks despite the absence of Jaelan Philips. The Dolphins also limited New England’s rushing offense to just 3.5 yards per run – despite Rhamondre Stephenson and Ezekiel Elliot being on the Patriots. Some may still question whether the Dolphins are a complete team after their defense forced Tua to a shootout during Week 1. But clearly they’re not hopeless after holding the Patriots to 17 points on Sunday night.
Miami’s start this season has been as good as they could have hoped for. The Chargers were a team they had beaten last year. They now faced demons. Then Miami won the AFC East. Follow him on Twitter at
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