FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday (one p.m. ET, CBS), which will mark their to start with recreation versus rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. That is excellent news for mentor Bill Belichick’s workforce dependent on current historical past.
The Patriots have received their previous 9 games versus starting up rookie quarterbacks, with the most current outcome — a forty five- drubbing of Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 6 — putting an exclamation mark on the extraordinary statistic.
This is how the postseason bracket appears at the moment and what situations lie forward.
• Playoff photo (ESPN+) »
• Playoff Machine: See situations »
• Standings » | Soccer Electricity Index »
“None of that truly implies just about anything this 7 days,” Belichick mentioned in his weekly interview on sporting activities radio WEEI. “Tua is a very gifted player. He’s demonstrated that through his career. I haven’t been out there for any snaps versus any of these men, so we will see how our players compete versus their players and workforce on Sunday.”
The Patriots (6-7), with extended-shot playoff odds (three.6% probability per ESPN’s Soccer Electricity Index), have an prospect to participate in a spoiler sort of role versus the Dolphins (eight-five), very similar to what Miami did in the time finale previous 12 months at New England when its victory price tag Belichick’s workforce a probability for a to start with-spherical playoff bye.
Geno Smith, then participating in for the New York Jets, was the previous rookie quarterback to conquer the Belichick-led Patriots — a 30-27 selection in extra time on Oct. 20, 2013.
Given that that place, the crop of rookies who have dropped to the Patriots in their to start with start off versus them includes Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders), Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans), Cody Kessler (Cleveland Browns), Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams), Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans), Josh Allen (Buffalo Expenditures), Sam Darnold (Jets), Daniel Jones (New York Giants) and Herbert.
The Patriots less than Belichick (2000-existing) have been an underdog only twice to a rookie quarterback making his to start with career start off versus them: Herbert from two weeks back, and Vince Young (Titans) in 2006. The Patriots received both games by a mixed score of 85-23.
With the Dolphins favored by 2.five points, Tagovailoa hopes to crack not just the 9-recreation rookie getting rid of streak, but that one particular as very well.
Just as the Patriots used disguise to stymie Herbert, Tagovailoa and the Dolphins can be expecting something very similar. The key, in accordance to Dolphins quarterbacks mentor Robby Brown, is to method it like any other recreation.
“As an business [less than mentor Brian Flores], we generally start off with [opponents’ defensive] staff. Then you go to our staff, then into what is the protection hoping to do to you? You try out to build that case in the beginning and then go from there. [The Patriots] do a excellent job of distinctive sets, distinctive disguises, no matter what it may well be. They have been very excellent for lots of decades. That does develop a excellent challenge,” Brown mentioned.
Tagovailoa is 114-of-184 for one,214 yards, with 9 touchdowns and one particular interception this time because using over as a starter in Week eight (he missed one particular recreation right after that with a thumb injuries on his left throwing hand). He has additional 24 rushes for sixty one yards (2.five avg.) and one particular landing.
In addition to getting left-handed, Tagovailoa stands out from other rookie quarterbacks the Patriots have faced.
“He’s a rather knowledgeable quarterback in terms of the passing recreation and what they did at Alabama,” Belichick mentioned, referencing Tagovailoa’s faculty career less than mentor Nick Saban, one particular of Belichick’s closest mates.
“He receives rid of the ball very promptly, isn’t going to keep it a great deal, sees protection very well, has taken excellent care of the ball, hasn’t thrown the ball to the protection. He understands the tension, the timing of routes, receives the ball out promptly, and has more than enough quickness in the pocket to make it tough for the pass rush to get to him. He can operate a little bit, but I would say he is extra of a a lot quicker person in the pocket that’s elusive and truly needs to toss extra than he needs to operate.”
Defenders spoke with admiration of Tagovailoa, and how he has returned from a critical hip injuries.
“Tua’s a terrific competitor. I viewed him in faculty,” mentioned Patriots fourth-12 months defensive lineman Deatrich Intelligent Jr., who observed experiencing a left-handed sign-caller could affect which hand he raises in an endeavor to bat down passes.
Meanwhile, to start with-12 months linebacker Terez Corridor has the firsthand experience of possessing faced Tagovailoa as a player at Missouri.
“He’s a mobile person, but not as mobile as Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray. Not like that,” he mentioned. “He’s a distinctive person, and he can participate in. So it will be pleasurable participating in versus him.”