Tua Tagovailoa using deep ball to keep Dolphins in striking distance

ByMarcel Louis-Jacques ESPN logo
Sunday, December 4, 2022
ESPN

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Miami Dolphins have kept themselves afloat on the strength of the big play during Sunday's game against theSan Francisco 49ers, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completing touchdown passes of 45 and 75 yards.

With Miami trailing 23-10 early in the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa found a streaking Tyreek Hill for the 45-yard score to cut San Francisco's lead in half. It was a much-needed bounce-back after Tagovailoa threw interceptions on consecutive passes in the third quarter and had largely struggled throughout the day.

Hill got behind 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga despite the two-deep coverage, and Tagovailoa hit him in stride with a pass that travelled 48.1 yards through the air, according to NextGen Stats. The completion also gave Hill 1,358 receiving yards this season, good for second-most in Dolphins franchise history.

On the first play from scrimmage, Tagovailoafound wide receiver Trent Sherfield on a 10-yard slant route. Sherfield, making his return to Levi's Stadium after spending last season with the 49ers, then ran the remaining 65 yards untouched for a 75-yard touchdown.

Hill drew double coverage, freeing up Sherfield over the middle of the field. It marked the longest touchdown pass of Tagovailoa's career and nearly doubled Sherfield's previous long reception of 38 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The 49ers entered the game leading the NFL in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game, with a league-low 47 explosive plays allowed this season. The 75-yard completion marked the longest passing play they've given up in 2022.