Dolphins at Cardinals score: Tua Tagovailoa outduels Kyler Murray as Miami wins fourth straight
The Dolphins kept rolling in Tua's second start
Tua Tagovailoa became the first Miami Dolphins quarterback to win his first two career starts in 11 years as he out-dueled Kyler Murray in the desert. Tagovailoa completed 20 of 28 passes for 248 yards and threw for two touchdowns in leading Miami to a huge 34-31 comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset, led by Tagovailoa's game-tying 11-yard touchdown pass to Mack Hollins with 11:19 left that sparked the comeback.
This slugfest ultimately came down to kickers, as Jason Sanders hit the winning 50-yard kick with 3:30 to play to give Miami a 34-31 lead. The Cardinals responded with a strong drive of their own but opted to play for the tie instead of going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Dolphins' 31-yard line. Zane Gonzalez was short on his 49-yard attempt and the Dolphins got the first down they needed on a Tagovailoa sneak three plays later to seal the win.
Murray was outstanding despite the loss, finishing 21 of 26 for 283 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions while rushing for a career-high 106 yards and a score. This was Murray's seventh game with both a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown this season, one behind Steve Grogan, Dante Culpepper, and Cam Newton for the most in a season. He also has eight rushing touchdowns in his first eight games, the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to accomplish that feat.
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Miami entered this contest with the No. 1 ranked scoring defense but got a defensive touchdown from Shaq Lawson in the first quarter to take the early 7-0 lead -- which ended up being the only turnover in the game. The Dolphins gave up over 400 yards and 6.9 yards per play, but that turnover ended up getting them a victory and keeping the winning streak alive at four games.
Relive all the action in our live blog below.
Why the Dolphins won
The Dolphins came into this game with the No. 1 ranked scoring defense, but Sunday belonged to Tua Tagovailoa. After he didn't have to do much in his first start (through no fault of his own as the Miami defense took over), Tagovailoa willed the Dolphins to two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to earn the victory. Trailing 31-24 with just under 12 minutes left, Tagovailoa ran 17 yards on second-and-4 to the Cardinals' 11 -- then followed with a touchdown pass to Mack Hollins in the corner of the end zone to tie the game on the next play. On Miami's final three possessions, Tagovailoa went 6 for 8 for 77 yards with a touchdown and had three carries for 24 yards -- including the first-down run to seal the victory. This was a complete team effort for the Dolphins, and also a game where Tua proved he's a starting quarterback in this league.
Why the Cardinals lost
Two plays hurt the Cardinals. The first was Murray's fumble on Arizona's first drive that led to a recovery by Shaq Lawson for a 36-yard touchdown -- the second consecutive game the Dolphins defense scored a touchdown. The second was the missed 49-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez that was short of the goal post. Two plays that first resulted in a huge swing for the Dolphins and then took three points away form the Cardinals -- as Arizona could have forced overtime for the second consecutive week.
Kliff Kingsbury had questionable fourth-and-1 calls in the fourth quarter by taking the ball out of Kyler Murray's hands twice and handing the ball off to Chase Edmonds while having Gonzalez kick -- all of which hurt Arizona's chances of victory. The Cardinals didn't have many errors in this one, but they had more than Miami.
The Dolphins may lose the title of No. 1 ranked scoring defense this week, but they made the biggest play of the game when they needed it. In a 31-31 game with 5:15 left, the Dolphins defense held Chase Edmonds on a fourth-and-1 as Edmonds took the handoff to his left and had nowhere to go. Zach Sieler got to Edmonds first for the crucial stop giving Miami the ball at their own 40-yard line and a short field for Tagovailoa to work with. That stop kick-started the Dolphins' winning drive (Sanders' 50-yard field goal), which they needed to pull off the upset.
Play of the game
Tagovailoa's 11-yard touchdown pass to tie the game was arguably his best of the day. The catch was Hollins' first in a Dolphins uniform -- and his first catch since Week 4 of last season with the Philadelphia Eagles -- which was a perfect throw to the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 31-31 with 11:24 left.
The three-step drop and quick strike was perfect for the rookie signal-caller, showcasing why some NFL scouts believed Tagovailoa was the best quarterback coming out of this draft. The Dolphins appear to have a franchise quarterback.
"The stage wasn't too big for Tua tonight." - Dolphins head coach Brian Flores on Tagovailoa's performance. Tagovailoa has thrown for 339 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in his two starts for the Dolphins, who are 2-0 in his starts.
The Dolphins (5-3) host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday while the Cardinals (5-3) host the Bills. Miami is 1.5 games behind Buffalo for the AFC East lead while the Cardinals remain a game behind the Seahawks for first in the NFC West.
Tua Tagovailoa is the first QB to win his first two starts for the #Dolphins since Chad Henne in 2009.
Damon Huard was the last QB to accomplish the feat before Henne -- in 1999.
What a game as Miami improves to 5-3, winning for consecutive games and keeping pace with the Bills in the AFC East. The Cardinals fail to gain ground on the Seahawks and fall to 5-3, still a young team finding their wings.
What a game. Stay tuned for takeaways shortly!
Tua will win this for the Dolphins.
Gonzalez missed the kick! Tua in position to win this.
Kirk has five catches for 131 yards after that 35-yard catch on the first play of the drive. Cards at the Dolphins 31-yard line at the 2 minute warning
it's time to see if Murray has another game-winning drive in him. 3:30 to give the Cardinals the lead. Go to Kirk early and often.
Sanders is money from 50. 20 in a row is a franchise record.
Here we go. 4th-and-1 at the Cardinals 32. Dolphins call timeout here, but a Sanders 49-yard FG gives them the lead. Sanders made a 55 yarder earlier.