Brian Flores: 'The stage wasn't too big' for Tua Tagovailoa

Miami Dolphins fans should be smiling ear to ear Monday morning after watching Tua Tagovailoa shine in his second start, leading the Dolphins to a 34-31 road victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

The rookie quarterback wasn't asked to do much in his first start last week. Sunday, Tua showed that he can carry the Dolphins when needed.

"He made a lot of big plays for us, especially down the stretch when we needed it," Dolphins coach Brian Flores said, via "It was kind of a back-and-forth game. They made plays; we made plays. The stage wasn't too big for him tonight. He played well, but we had a lot guys play well - the offensive line, backs, tight ends. Everyone contributed. It was a team victory. We made plays really on all three sides of the ball, and that's what you need to win a game like that against an opponent like that."

Tagovailoa out-dueled Kyler Murray Sunday with a bevy of beautiful throws spearheading a Dolphins offense to a come-from-behind win. It wasn't all perfect, as the first-round pick had a few rookie moments, but the highs from Tua showed the type of expectations Miami should have for the young signal-caller.

If there were any questions about his health or mobility, Tagovailoa dismissed them with several key runs, including one on a third-down that lead to a game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown in which he shimmy-shaked his way past Cards safety Budda Baker.

The critical drive came after Miami got behind for the first time on the afternoon following Murray scrambling for a TD. Tua put the Dolphin on his back, guiding a 10-play, 93-yard drive by completing all five of his passes for 53 yards and adding two runs for 23 yards. He culminated the march with a picture-perfect pass to Mack Hollins for the TD.

"I think the big thing was just taking what the defense gave us," Tagovailoa said, per the team's official website. "Taking it one play at a time. Before the Mack Hollins play, I was fortunate to get out of that pressure situation on third down. The plays that we've been given by our offensive coordinator (Chan Gailey) helped us get into situations where we could be successful offensively."

On the afternoon, Tua completed 20 of 28 passes for 248 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions for a 122.3 rating. He moved the ball in a variety of ways, stretching the field, hitting darts over the middle and utilizing pinpoint accuracy to fit several balls into tight windows.

Flores took some external heat for making a move to Tua while the Dolphins had a winning record with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. The coach then went out of his way to reject the notion that the Dolphins were auditioning the rookie.

Flores has been proven right each time.

Tua is the real deal, the Dolphins are in the thick of the playoff hunt with the rookie quarterback at the wheel, and the future in South Beach looks blindingly bright right now.

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