MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Time to face facts, #BillsMafia. The Miami Dolphins have caught, and seemingly surpassed, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. And Tua Tagovailoa is, right now, the best quarterback in the AFC East — and maybe the most valuable player in the NFL.
What’s more, Tagovailoa — who had another lights-out game in the Dolphins’ 39-17 beatdown of the Cleveland Browns here Sunday — is putting together arguably the best passing season in the franchise’s 57-year history.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins Are AFC East’s Best
He’s been just as explosive — and more efficient — as Dan Marino was in his landmark 1984 season. That was the year Marino set the league ablaze with 5,084 passing yards and 48 touchdowns.
Tua probably won’t reach either of those numbers, but it’s because he missed two games with a concussion.
Nevertheless, Tagovailoa in 2022 has a superior yards per attempt average (9.1 to Marino’s 9.0 in 1984), a better passer rating (118.4 to 108.9), and a far superior interception rate (1.2% to 3%).
Tagovailoa hasn’t thrown a pick since September, a span of 138 attempts. And since he’s returned from the concussion protocol, Tua has been the best quarterback in the league.
Sunday was his third straight week with three touchdown passes. The Dolphins are 7-0 in games in which he’s started and finished.
That, friends, is a Most Valuable Player résumé — a fact not lost on Sunday’s record crowd, which repeatedly chanted MVP for Tua, even when the Dolphins were driving.
“There’s no doubt I heard that,” said Tagovailoa, who finished 25 of 32 for 285 yards and three scores. “I could hear that when it was a TV timeout, when we were walking back into the tunnel. You know, it’s flattering. But what we came to do and what we came to accomplish, it’s not accomplished yet. So it would be cool, but we have bigger goals and aspirations on what we want to do as a team.
“If I was a voter, he’d have my vote, definitely,” wide receiver Tyreek Hill said post-game.
Added Dolphins guard Robert Hunt: “He is playing fantastic. He’s playing at an MVP level, in my opinion. The guy is good. He’s getting the ball out, finding everything. He’s leading. 1’s doing a fantastic job. He’s eating. He’s locked in.”
Dolphins Soar as Bills Slide
While the Dolphins had a stress-free romp Sunday, the Bills are in hell. Allen, their dynamic quarterback, is banged up. And he’s now making mistakes that are crippling his team’s chances.
Allen and the Bills choked away a win against the Vikings on Sunday. He fumbled in his own end zone with less than a minute left in regulation and then threw a pick in Minnesota’s end zone on the final play of overtime.
Without both of those critical errors, the Bills would be 7-2 and the AFC’s No. 1 seed through 10 weeks. Instead, they’re a half-game back of the Dolphins in the AFC East, and the conference’s 6 seed as the season turns for home.
The Tua vs. Allen comparison in 2022 isn’t even close.
Tagovailoa, through Sunday’s 1 p.m. window, was far and away first in EPA+CPOE composite (.219). He also leads the league in QBR, yards per pass, and passer rating.
Allen hasn’t been terrible. But he’s not been great. His passer rating (96.6) and yards per attempt (8.0) are well below Tua’s.
The turnovers have been the difference. Allen threw two more picks Sunday, giving him 10 for the season. And he’s lost three fumbles. Sunday was his third straight game with a sub-80 passer rating.
Are Dolphins Now Favorites To Win AFC East?
Sunday’s win bumped the Dolphins’ odds to reach the playoffs up to 90%, per FiveThirtyEight. They are 36% to win the division and 10% to grab the 1 seed. The Bills, meanwhile, are 92%, 49%, and 21%.
But with all due respect, we think the Bills are overrated. They have won three games against teams with winning records. And their once impenetrable defense has given up 90 points in the last four weeks.
The Dolphins won the first meeting between these teams. The rematch on Dec. 18 could be for the division — assuming Miami hasn’t run away with it by then.
“It’s them that are choosing to buy in,” said Mike McDaniel, who deserves strong consideration for coach of the year. “I think you can do a ton of really cool things in the National Football League if you can somehow get an entire building, an entire roster, to move in one direction.”