When Dolphins coach Brian Flores made the decision to hand the starting quarterback job over to Tua Tagovailoa following Miami's Week 7 bye, it was definitely a move that came with some risk. However, the gamble has paid off as Tua has led the Dolphins to three straight wins since taking over as the team's starter.
Tua has been so good that he's actually on the cusp of doing something that no rookie quarterback has accomplished since 2004. If the Dolphins beat the Broncos on Sunday, that means Tua would start his career with four straight wins, which is notable because that's only been done a total of five times in the Super Bowl era.
The last quarterback to start his career with four straight wins during his rookie year was Ben Roethlisberger, who did it in 2004 when he won 13 straight games to start his career. The fact that no rookie QB has been able to pull off four straight wins to start their career over the past 16 years really demonstrates just how hard a feat it is to accomplish. Since 2004 there have been multiple talented rookie quarterbacks with guys like Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray, but none of them were able to win their first four starts during their rookie year.
Remember, this record only applies to games won during a quarterback's rookie year, so although someone like Mahomes won the first six starts of his career, only one of his wins came when he was a rookie. Also, although Prescott won 11 straight games during his rookie year, he lost his first start, so his chance at this streak was over before it started.
Here's a look at the rookie quarterbacks who have gotten off to the best start in the Super Bowl era:
1. Ben Roethlisberger, 2004: Started 13-0 with Steelers (has won two Super Bowls)
2. Dieter Brock, 1985: Started 7-0 with Rams (never played in the NFL again after 1985)
3. Mike Kruczek, 1970: Started 6-0 with Steelers (only started seven games in his career)
4. Phil Simms, 1979: Started 4-0 with Giants (won two Super Bowls, named Super Bowl XXI MVP)
5. Virgil Carter, 1968: Started 4-0 with Bears (left Chicago and eventually led the Bengals to the playoffs in 1970 after the team started 1-6)
And that's it. That's the entire list of rookie quarterbacks who won at least their first four starts during their rookie year. Not only can Tua put himself on the list this week, but he could shoot up to No. 2 on the list if he can win his next three games (Broncos, Jets, Bengals). Unfortunately for Tua, he won't be able to catch Roethlisberger. Since the Dolphins only have seven games left on their regular season schedule, the best Tua can do is to start his career with 10 straight wins during his rookie year.