Tua Tagovailoa outduels Kyler Murray in shootout to improve to 2-0 as Dolphins starter

Sunday’s game between the Arizona Cardinals was billed as a battle between two of the NFL’s brightest young quarterback prospects.

It did not disappoint.

Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa put on a show in the desert that saw the Dolphins win their second straight game behind their rookie quarterback.

Tua sizzles in second NFL start

A week after the Dolphins leaned on their defense to beat the Los Angeles Rams in Tagovailoa’s NFL debut, they let him rip in a shootout with Murray. He paid off head coach Brian Flores’ confidence in a 34-31 thriller that saw Tagovailoa impress with his arm and his legs.

The Dolphins came out firing, scoring a defensive touchdown off a Murray fumble on the Cardinals opening drive. They took a 24-17 lead into halftime behind an impressive effort from Tagovailoa that saw him tally 158 first-half passing yards and a touchdown.

Murray’s Cardinals responded with a 14-0 third quarter. But it was all Dolphins in the final stanza as Tagovailoa led Miami to the final 10 points of the game, including a pinpoint pass to Mack Hollins in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 31-31.

Jason Sanders’ 50-yard field goal on the next Dolphins drive with 3:30 remaining proved to be the game’s decisive score as Miami’s surprising season reached its midpoint at 5-3.

Impressive numbers for Tua

Tagovailoa finished completing 20-of-28 passes for 248 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He also produced on the ground with 35 yards on seven carries, including this 17-yard scramble to set up the late game-tying touchdown.

He did not turn the ball over.

Doubts about switching from a successful Ryan Fitzpatrick midseason are quickly being erased.

Kyler Murray has another huge day in loss

The Dolphins needed everything they got from their high-profile rookie as Murray continued his ascension as one of the game’s most electric talents on the other side. He bounced back from his opening-drive turnover for one of the most impressive offensive performances of the NFL season.

Murray completed 21-of-26 pass attempts for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception. He added 106 yards and a touchdown on the ground against a Dolphins defense that was mostly helpless to contain him.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury regularly showed confidence in his second-year quarterback and kept his offense on the field three times on fourth down. The first two efforts were a success. But the Dolphins stuffed a fourth-and-one effor with 5:15 remaining and the game tied at 31. This time the Cardinals strayed from Murray, sending Chase Edmonds up the middle for no gain.

Arizona had a chance to tie the game with 1:58 remaining, but Zane Gonzalez’s 49-yard field goal came up short as the Cardinals fell to 5-3.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 08: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins carries the ball as Corey Peters #98 of the Arizona Cardinals gives chase during the second half at State Farm Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

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