Tua Tagovailoa is now 1-0 as an NFL starter.
In his first career NFL start, the Ewa Beach native and Saint Louis alum Miami Dolphins completed 12 of his 22 passes for 93 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in a 28-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
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The contest began inauspiciously for Tagovailoa, who was strip-sacked by two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald on his second offensive snap of the game, leading to a lost fumble. The Rams took a 7-0 lead three plays later on a 4-yard rush by Robert Woods.
The Dolphins tied the game on Tagovailoa’s first career NFL touchdown, a 3-yard pass to DeVante Parker.
Miami’s defense wreaked havoc in the first half, forcing four turnovers, scoring one touchdown and setting up another. The Dolphins took the lead for good on Andrew Van Ginkel’s 78-yard scoop and score with 10:17 remaining in the second quarter, then extended their lead to 21-7 on Jakeem Grant’s 88-yard punt return for a touchdown with 8:44 left in the first half. After Shaq Lawson forced a fumble that was recovered by Kyle Van Noy on the Los Angeles 1, the Dolphins took a commanding 28-7 lead on Myles Gaskin’s 1-yard rushing score with 2:48 to go in the second period. Kai Forbath’s 23-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining in the second quarter cut the Rams’ deficit to 28-10 at halftime.
After both teams exclusively traded punts in the third quarter, Woods’ second touchdown of the day on an 11-yard pass to Jared Goff cut the Dolphins’ lead down to 28-17. A 48-yard field goal attempt by Forbath that would have made it a one-possession game was shanked with 3:38 remaining in the game, allowing the Dolphins to run out the clock.
The Rams drop to 5-2, while the Dolphins improve to 4-3. Next up for Miami is a road game against the Arizona Cardinals, which kicks off on Nov. 8 at 11:25 HST.