Tua Tagovailoa or Joe Burrow: who has more potential?
By: Jake Rajala
The 3-0 Miami Dolphins take a trip to battle the 1-2 Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football. The Phins have the biggest surprise QB of 2022, Tua Tagovailoa, and the Cincinnati Bengals carry a highly motivated QB named Joe Burrow. Burrow and Tagovailoa have never squared off against one another, so it will certainly be a fascinating dance to witness. With that enunciated, I’m going to untwine the outlook for each QB and then untwine which QB has more potential in their careers.
The Phins signal-caller had an impressive 6-3 record as a rookie starter. Although, Tua was benched on numerous occasions, which once resulted in Fitzmagic having the keys to the offense. Of course, the football world remembers Fitzmagic for having the infamous face-mask throw against the Raiders in place of Tua.
The former Bama gunslinger still showed potential with his accuracy and efficiency (11 TDs to 5 ints) as a rookie. The Phins QB1 had a modest sophomore year with a 67.8 completion percentage, 16 passing TDs, 10 ints, and 2,653 passing yards. His arm strength did continue to grab criticisms and memes.
Tua also possessed a winning record (7-5) in 2021, despite not making the post-season.
In the year of the Water Tiger, Tagovailoa has blatantly been on fire. The Phins QB1 ranks second in passing yards, fourth in passing touchdowns, second in passer rating (considering QBs with 6+ passing attempts), and he’s marched his squad to a 3-0 record.
Tua has Tyreek Hill (21 catches, 317 receiving yards, 2 TDs), Jaylen Waddle (19 catches, 342 receiving yards, and 3 TDs), and a Top-5 LT in Terron Armstead. It’s hard to deny that Tua isn’t more glamorous than Bad Boys in Miami.
I really like the Phins Da Vinci-like HC, Mike McDaniel. It’s hard to deny his schemes to allow the Phins WRs to be unstoppable deep-threats on a regular basis & his ability to simply transform Tua into a stat machine and an efficient QB. If you doubt the mind of McDaniel, just watch the clip below.
The former LSU Champion Joe Burrow had a rocky start to his pro career — as he only played in 10 contests. The Bengals rookie did still flash excellent ability (2,668 passing yards, 13 passing TDs to 5 ints, and a 65.3 completion percentage). Burrow held a 2-7-1 record as a rook and the once first-year HC Zac Taylor sadly had a 2-14 record.
The unusual come-back mentality of Burrow and Taylor showed up in their sophomore seasons. The cigar-smoking fella unleashed 4,611 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns, 14 ints, and a potent 70.4 completion percentage in the 2021 regular season. The magic happened with Burrow in the latest post-season. In the AFC Championship, he defeated the Madden-like QB Patrick Mahomes for the second time in the season. Burrow’s best pal, Ja’Marr Chase, hauled in six catches for 54 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs. Eli Apple had a pleasant outing against the Chiefs, but he was a bit overconfident heading into Super Bowl LVI.
His impressive efforts were made last season, while being the most sacked QB. Cincy really aimed to improve the protection around Burrow this off-season by inking La’el Collins and Alex Cappa.
Well, it’s safe to say the Bengals new OL isn’t a sexy unit at this early stage in the season. The Bengals allowed a whopping seven sacks to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. The masscare against Burrow continued in Week 2 with the Cowboys sacking Burrow on six occasions. The disastrous Begals OL somewhat bounced back against a pedestrian Jets pass rush by only allowing two sacks.
Burrow undoubtedly has the best WR trio, but the outlook for his OL is troublesome. It’s also not clear if Chase will recapture his 2021 production in 2022 — as he’s sitting with 212 passing yards and 2 TDs. At this moment, Burrow has thrown 812 passing yards, six touchdowns, 4 ints, and garnered an 85.2 passer rating.
It’s hard to ignore the past production from Burrow, even if he’s a dark early chapter in 2022. I still anticipate that Chase will have a few top-end performances this season. The 23-year-old Tee Higgins is also a special football player (1,091 yds and six TDs last season). The Bengals OL has talent and it’s chemistry will improve throughout the season.
Although, I don’t believe the Phins offensive success is completely fluky. It’s impressive that the Phins demolished Baltimore and have had some success on O against the cream-of-the-crop Bills defense. Outside of both teams carrying a scary WR1, I like Waddle a tad more than Higgins. Even if it’s early in McDaniel’s Dolphins journey, I like his outlook more than Taylor, too. All in all, I’m placing my cards on Tua’s career outlook.