Defense helps Tua in win
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) looks to pass the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Miami aims for back-to-back NFC West wins against Arizona

Two of the NFL’s most overachieving franchises this season meet in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday in a battle between young quarterbacks. The Miami Dolphins (4-3) will hope to contain an explosive Arizona Cardinals (5-2) team in the second start for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Both squads hope to build off big wins in their last outings. Miami beat the Rams 28-17 last week, and the Cardinals stunned the then-undefeated Seattle Seahawks in overtime on Oct. 25.

Tua time in Miami

The Dolphins decided to make a change ahead of last week’s game. Coach Brian Flores made the decision to give Tagovailoa his first career start after backing up veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for the first six games.

He wasn’t asked to do too much in that game, completing 12 of 22 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals defense has struggled and ranks just 22nd in the NFL in yards allowed. Given that, he could be poised for a bigger day than he had last week.

The Dolphins may need to ask more from Tagovailoa in this game, though. They’ve struggled to field a consistent rushing attack this season. Myles Gaskin leads the team in rushing, but he has just 387 yards and two touchdowns on the season. And now, he’s on the injured reserve.

Matt Breida, who has just 128 yards on the year, will likely see the bulk of the carries, though he is also injured and his status is unclear. With Miami being shorthanded at running back, Sunday would be an opportune time for a breakout game from Tagovailoa in his first road start.

Can the Dolphins stop Kyler?

Second-year Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray is making a strong argument so far this season for being the best passer in the 2019 class.

He has 1,847 passing yards and 13 touchdowns through the air on the season. He still shows signs of being mistake-prone, as he’s already tossed seven interceptions. But he makes up for that with his production on the ground.

Murray is second on the team in rushing yards with 437 and he leads it in rushing touchdowns with seven. He runs an explosive offense that stands atop the NFL in yards per game.

The Dolphins are allowing 376 yards of offense per game. Though they appear to have improved in recent weeks, it could be a long day if they don’t tighten up defensively.

Flores has done wonders for Miami this season, but if that momentum is going to continue, it has to find a way to slow down the Cardinals.

About Tyler Nettuno

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