Here’s another turnover-worthy play. This throw is slightly less head-scratching because Robert Spillane makes a legitimately impressive read. However, it has the same base problem as the two plays above.
Spillane understands the Dolphins’ tendencies and makes an informed decision based on those tendencies. Tagovailoa just throws it into the window without checking Spillane at all.
No version of this pass ends in completion because Tagovailoa didn’t check the middle of the field before letting it rip.
Why Does This Happen?
So, what do all three of those plays have in common? It’s blind trust in the offense. We’ve covered this at length this season, but it popped even more on Sunday, especially in the second half.
What makes Miami’s offense special can also be its Achilles heel.
Tagovailoa is instructed to throw to spots. We’re not saying he can’t or doesn’t read defenses (because he absolutely does), but the offense centers around trusting the play calling and receivers to create space — no matter what.
Most of Tagovailoa’s interceptions this season result from the blind trust in the offense. It’s why most of them look so bad at first glance. He’s not reading the defense; he’s locked on and letting it rip, even if a defender is in a good position to make a play.
The same gusto allows him to hit Hill between three defenders for a chunk gain. However, he does it to a fault at times.
You have to ask yourself whether the risk is worth the reward. Given how explosive Miami’s offense has been this season, we’d say it is.
Dolphins fans got upset because national analysts said throwing INTs was actually a good thing when discussing Josh Allen’s struggles. INTs aren’t good, but it’s more nuanced than that.
INTs usually mean quarterbacks are trying to hit throws down the field, throws that result in big plays. They’re a necessary evil in an NFL increasingly centered around creating explosives.
In Tagovailoa’s case, yes, he’s making some easy mistakes. Of course, there’s a better balance between reading the defense and unquestioningly trusting the offense.
But tipping the scale too far in the other direction will rob the Dolphins’ offense of what makes it unique in the first place. Our advice?
Call the bad plays out when you see them, but understand the full context of what they represent in the big picture.