Chapter Two of Tua – has a nice ring to do it — as the team’s starting quarterback should provide us with another important measuring stick.
For Tua as well as the Dolphins.
This is not the old Arizona Cardinals the Dolphins will be facing late Sunday afternoon in Glendale, Ariz. This is a talented offensive team led by one of the top young quarterbacks in the league in Kyler Murray. Sure, it would be nice to get the type of defensive performance we saw last Sunday against the Rams. That made Tua’s job a lot easier. But you can’t count on that two Sunday’s in a row, nor can you count on Jakeem Grant taking a punt to the house.
The Dolphins will need more than two touchdowns from their offense to walk away with their fourth straight victory. That means Tua needs to be far better and more efficient. He needs some big plays, some key third down conversions and enough touchdowns to keep up with an Arizona team capable of making a defense look bad in a hurry.
Murray vs. Tua. Haven’t we seen this before in a national semifinal playoff game? Two young heavyweights, in so many ways the future of this league giving us a tasty morsel of what’s in store. Tua’s Alabama team beat Murray’s Oklahoma team in that BCS playoff game.
But this is a different ballgame altogether.
The Dolphins have been hit hard by injuries at running back and weren’t exactly tearing things up when they were healthy. Not sure you can count on much from the ground game this Sunday, which only adds to the significance of Tua’s performance.
Yes, I expected more in his debut, but I didn’t expect a 28-10 halftime lead that changed the complexion of the game and placed the Dolphins in a more conservative mindset.
I don’t expect them to be afforded such a luxury on Sunday. I’m anxious to see how Tua responds, how he grows from one game to another and how he matches up against Murray, already one of the league’s most electric players.
But it will also be incumbent on the defense to keep the game close. I’ve got to admit I’m surprised at how well this defense has played over the first seven games of the season and certainly how it became the feel-good story of the win over the Rams. Now let’s see if they can keep that going against Murray and arguably the league’s best receiver in DeAndre Hopkins.
My gut tells me that this Dolphins’ team isn’t quite ready to beat a team the caliber of Arizona on the road, that this offense currently has too many unresolved issues to envision them winning a shootout.
I see Arizona winning a close one. Unless, of course, Tua owns the day.