When Tua Tagovailoa was an NFL rookie in 2020, the Saint Louis alum and Ewa Beach native watched from the sidelines as the Miami Dolphins lost 21-11 to the New England Patriots.
Tagovailoa didn’t start until Week 8 of the 2020 season. Despite an offseason that featured some trade rumors, Tagovailoa was still the starter in Miami by the time Week 1 of the 2021 season rolled around.
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On Sunday, Tagovailoa led the Dolphins to a 17-16 victory over the Patriots and outdueled former Alabama teammate Mac Jones, completing 16 of his 27 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a 3-yard touchdown for the first score of the game.
At 1-0, the 2021 season is off to an auspicious start for Tagovailoa and Miami, but the Dolphins will face another stiff test on Week 2 when they take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at 7 a.m. HST. The Bills, who are a trendy pick to win the AFC, had their way with the Dolphins the last time the two teams shared the field.
Here are how other players with Hawaii ties fared during Week 1 of the NFL season.
Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh Steelers (Saint Louis): Alualu had five tackles (two solo) and a quarterback hit in a 23-16 upset victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Bradlee Anae, defensive end, Dallas Cowboys (Kahuku): Anae saw action at defensive end and during special teams but did not record any tackles in a 31-29 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
DeForest Buckner, defensive lineman, Indianapolis Colts (Punahou): Buckner had six tackles (five solo), a sack, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits in a 28-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Alohi Gilman, safety, Los Angeles Chargers (Kahuku): Gilman had two tackles (one solo) in a 20-16 won over the Washington Football Team.
Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker, Houston Texans (Kamehameha): Grugier-Hill had two tackles (one solo) in a 37-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Nate Herbig, guard, Philadelphia Eagles (Saint Louis): Herbig saw action in the team’s 32-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Marcus Kemp, receiver, Kansas City Chiefs (University of Hawaii): Kemp was active but did not record any statistics in a 33-29 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Las Vegas Raiders (Saint Louis): Mariota carried the ball once for a 31-yard rush in a 33-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Netane Muti, guard, Denver Broncos (Leilehua): Muti was active in a 27-13 win over the New York Giants.
Sammis Reyes, tight end, Washington Football Team (University of Hawaii): Reyes was ruled inactive prior to a 20-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Rigoberto Sanchez, punter, Colts (University of Hawaii): Sanchez punted the ball four times for a total of 187 yards in a 28-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Isaac Seumalo, offensive lineman, Philadelphia Eagles (born in Hawaii): Seumalo got the start at left guard and didn’t allow a sack in a 32-6 win over the Falcons.
Rico Bussey, receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers (University of Hawaii)
Trayvon Henderson, safety, Cincinnati Bengals (University of Hawaii)
Jahlani Tavai, linebacker, New England Patriots (University of Hawaii)
Breiden Fehoko, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Chargers (Farrington)
Keith Kirkwood, receiver, Carolina Panthers (University of Hawaii)
Trevor Davis, receiver (University of Hawaii)
Rojesterman Farris, cornerback (University of Hawaii)
Hercules Mata’afa, defensive tackle (Lahainaluna)
Kamalei Correa, linebacker (Saint Louis)
Leo Koloamatangi, offensive lineman (University of Hawaii)
Cole McDonald, quarterback, Toronto Argonauts (University of Hawaii)
Jordan Ta’amu, quarterback (Pearl City)
Manti Te’o, linebacker (Punahou)
JoJo Ward, receiver (University of Hawaii)
Ka’imi Fairbairn, kicker, Houston Texans (Punahou)
John Ursua, receiver, Seattle Seahawks (University of Hawaii)