The Miami Dolphins' purported interest in Deshaun Watson took center stage this past week in the buildup to the NFL's Nov. 2 trade deadline. Tua Tagovailoa did all he could Sunday to adjust that spotlight.
It just wasn't enough for a win.
The Dolphins lost 30-28 to the Falcons on another last-second field goal, despite a big performance from their starting quarterback. It came amid reports that Tagovailoa could soon be losing that job to the Texans' Watson, and that Tagovailoa himself might be shipped out.
"I hear it. I do hear it. I just don't listen to it. So that's that," Tagovailoa said of the trade chatter.
Miami coach Brian Flores said he had a conversation with Tagovailoa this week to reiterate that he's the team's QB and that he needed to stay focused. Tagovailoa did his part, as his 13th career start was easily one of his best. The second-year southpaw completed 32-of-40 passes (80%) for 291 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions.
Tagovailoa had previously yet to throw three TDs in a game. His final one in Week 7 gave Miami a 28-27 lead with 2:33 remaining.
"That's what you're looking for in a quarterback," Flores said. "He put us in position to win, that's all you can ask for."
Atlanta responded with a game-winning FG drive while running out the clock, handing the Dolphins (1-6) their sixth straight defeat. They've dropped two in a row and three overall on kicks at the buzzer.
"I don't think there's a secret recipe to win," Tagovailoa said afterward. "It's just, the margin for error is slim."
The coming nine days might reveal just how big his is in Miami.