MONDAY HUDDLE: Tagovailoa outshines former college teammate in promising start for Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins get better of Mac Jones and Patriots in opening-week statement

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) and running back Raheem Mostert (31) do a dance after Waddle scored a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.

Stellar start for Dolphins in many ways

Despite some promise shown last year for the Miami Dolphins when they went 9-8 and just missed out on a playoff spot, there was still a lot of uncertainty with all that was new going into Sunday’s season opener against division rival New England.

How would Tua Tagovailoa look initially in the system of new head coach Mike McDaniel?

Would the new prized addition, wideout Tyreek Hill, establish immediate chemistry with Tagovailoa in regular-season game action?

Would the defense suffer since McDaniel came from San Francisco with an offensive background?

All those questions were answered in a positive manner for Miami in an impressive 20-7 win over the Patriots.

Tagovailoa went 23-of-33 for 270 yards, a touchdown and a quarterback rating of 104.4, Hill caught eight passes for 94 yards and the defense was stifling, limiting New England to 271 yards of total offense.

Tagovailoa’s former Alabama teammate, Mac Jones, went 21-of-30 passing for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception for New England.

Time will tell if the Dolphins can compete with Buffalo for an AFC East title, but it appears for now that Miami has at least surpassed New England in the division’s pecking order.

Gators come back down to Earth

After such a euphoric opening that seemed to put Florida back on the map, Saturday was a disappointing reality check for the Gators.

No. 12 Florida was outplayed and outtoughed in the second half as it watched No. 20 Kentucky overcome a 16-7 deficit in the second quarter and earn a 26-16 win.

The Gators were shutout in the second half and all the electricity starting quarterback Anthony Richardson showed the nation in a season-opening win over Utah was tempered.

Richardson went 14-of-35 passing with no touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Going into the season, Florida fans probably would have been content with a 1-1 start to the season, given two ranked teams were coming into Gainesville to initiate first-year head coach Billy Napier into the job.

But after so much excitement after beating Utah, the Kentucky game was a letdown.

Chaminade-Madonna dominates in battle of heavyweights

One of the best high school football matchups in the country took place this weekend, when Chaminade-Madonna, ranked No. 2 in the state by, visited No. 5 Miami Northwestern.

After inclement weather delayed the game from Thursday night to Saturday afternoon, Chaminade-Madonna flexed its muscle, earning a 42-14 over Northwestern under intense heat and humidity in Miami Gardens.

Quarterback Cedric Bailey threw for four touchdowns in the win for Chaminade-Madonna.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.