While Miami did not earn a trip to the postseason, the Dolphins did return to relevance going 10-6 and finishing behind first-place Buffalo in the AFC East. Leaving them with much to look ahead to in 2021.
It was supposed to be another season of building toward competing for championships. The Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The plan was to bring him along slowly. Head coach Brian Flores worked that plan almost to perfection.
Grizzly veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick started the Dolphins first seven games of the season. When the team went into its bye week, Flores announced that Tagovailoa would take over the offense.
There may have been some fans that yearned for more from their prized rookie, but the results were still favorable. Plus, remember that Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions as a rookie.
All Tagovailoa did was win his first four games and go 6-3 for the season. His numbers were respectable. He completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,814 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tagovailoa threw just five interceptions.
He did struggle at times. The Dolphins rookie was sacked six times in a loss to Denver and four more in a 33-27 loss to Kansas City. He was benched in Week 16 and watched as Fitzpatrick led Miami to a 26-25 come-from-behind win over the Raiders.
A Look Ahead to 2021
Those longing for more can continue longing. Remember, Tagovailoa is a 22-year-old starting quarterback in the National Football League. His first nine games were respectable. His next 16 could be outstanding!
Don’t forget Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes became just the second NFL quarterback (Manning was the other) to throw for over 5,000 yards and at least 50 touchdowns in a season in 2018. It was Mahomes second season.
There is also precedent for a breakout sophomore campaign in Dolphins history. After being drafted in 1983, Dan Marino threw for 5,084 yards and a then NFL record 48 touchdowns.
So as Dolphins fans look ahead to 2021, year 2 of the Tagovailoa era in Miami could be a very bright one.