Tua Tagovailoa has a problem in the second quarter this year

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Tua Tagovailoa’s play since returning from injured reserve with a rib injury has been solid. He’s thrown the third-most yards (620) and completed his passes at the third-highest rate (74.7%) leading to his exceptional Pro Football Focus grade in the past two weeks.

While he’s playing well it hasn’t led to wins, and a part of that stems from the difference in his performance in the second quarter compared to the others.

In the second quarter this year, Tagovailoa is completing just 52.6% of his pass attempts and has a passer rating of 58.6, ranking him behind every starter but Zach Wilson.

Let’s compare those to the other quarters:

  • First: 75.8% completion, 115.3 passer rating

  • Third: 73.7% completion, 102.7 passer rating

  • Fourth: 82.1% completion, 111.9 passer rating

There’s a stark difference.

The first and third quarters make some sense, as that would be when a lot of plays are scripted. It’s understandable that those plays are more successful because they’re planned beforehand. His performance in fourth quarters just shows the type of quarterback that he is and how he plays when it matters most.

This can also be seen in the quarterback efficiency stat.

Quarterback Efficiency in quarters 1, 2, and 4.

Quarterback Efficiency in the second quarter.

These charts make it a little bit easier to understand the difference in performances. In the second quarter, Tagovailoa looks like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, but, in the three others, he looks like an MVP candidate.

This is something that has to be adjusted, and if Tagovailoa and the coaching staff can find a way to turn around the second quarter, the Dolphins will win games.