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Dolphins Misery Continues vs. Atlanta

Tua Tagovailoa throws two costly interceptions as the Miami Dolphins losing streak reaches six games

It was a game filled with momentum swings for both quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins, but the end result was yet another loss.

Younghoe Koo kicked a 36-yard field goal on the last play of regulation to give Atlanta a 30-28 lead and extend Miami's losing streak to six games.

Amid all the talk of a potential trade for Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, Tagovailoa gave both his supporters and his detractors a lot of talking points.

Tagovailoa threw a career-high four touchdown passes but also two costly interceptions, and he did help the Dolphins overcome a 27-14 fourth-quarter deficit before Atlanta rallied to keep Miami winless since its season-opening victory against the New England Patriots.

Tua's second pick was one the biggest plays of the game because it came right after Xavien Howard recorded his second interception of the season and put the Dolphins in position to take the lead trailing 20-14.

Worst than the interception, which came when Tua tried to force a pass under pressure, linebacker Foye Oluokun returned the pick 56 yards to set up a touchdown that made it 27-14.

But Tua showed some great resolve by coming back with his third and fourth touchdown passes to give Miami a 28-27 lead.

The fourth touchdown was a 4-yarder to wide receiver Mack Hollins after the defense produced another big play, with Nik Needham recovering a Matt Ryan fumble after Emmanuel Ogbah chopped the ball loose from the Atlanta quarterback in the open field.

Right after the touchdown that gave Atlanta a 27-14 lead, Tua came right back with a 90-yard drive that featured his longest completion, a 27-yard hook-up with tight end Mike Gesicki, to cut Atlanta's lead to six points and set the stage for the dramatic finish.

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Tagovailoa earlier threw touchdown passes to wide receiver Isaiah Ford and Gesicki, who had another big game on National Tight Ends Day. Gesicki finished with seven catches for 85 yards and the one touchdown.

Unfortunately, Falcons rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, had an even bigger day. He didn't score a touchdown but had seven receptions for 163 yards, including gains of 23 and 28 yards on Atlanta's game-winning field goal drive.

The 28-yard play came when he beat Howard in one-on-one coverage down the right sideline after a perfect throw by Ryan.

The running game had its best outing of the season, with newcomer Austin Reiter starting in place of the injured Greg Mancz at center, with 132 yards and a 5.9 average. Tagovailoa helped in that department as well, running four times for 29 yards.

Just like the previous game at Jacksonville, the game began with a beautiful opening drive for the Dolphins that featured Tua go 4-for-4 on third down, including a 17-yard completion to rookie Jaylen Waddle.

That was it for the first half for the Dolphins, however, though they had two other scoring chances.

The first ended when Jason Sanders' 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked and the second ended with Tua's first interception when he tried to force a pass to tight end Durham Smythe in the end zone and was picked off.

Taking over at their 20 with just 36 seconds left in the first half, Atlanta used a 36-yard completion to Pitts to kick a field goal at the end of the first half to take a 13-7 lead into halftime.

Atlanta made it 20-7 on the opening drive of the second half, needing only three plays to move 75 yards, with the touchdown coming on a 49-yard pass from Ryan to Russell Gage Jr.

Tua's touchdown pass to Gesicki late in the third quarter cut the Dolphins' deficit to 20-14 and set the stage for a wild fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for Miami, it ended with a second consecutive game lost on a last-second field goal as the frustrating 2021 season moves along.