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Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa registers perfect passer rating over three scoring drives in preseason finale – Boston Herald

It turned out the preseason finale was the closest thing to a dress rehearsal for the Miami Dolphins in the exhibition season.

And they nailed it — from the opening play.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit star receiver Tyreek Hill deep for 51 yards en route to recording a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Tagovailoa went 6 of 7 for 121 yards, and a touchdown later in the opening series.

With most starters on offense and defense getting three series, reserves fighting for roster spots then took over as the Dolphins won, 48-10, over the Philadelphia Eagles with third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson throwing three touchdown passes in the second half.

Tagovailoa led three scoring drives, throwing his one touchdown to River Cracraft, having his third series end in a 1-yard touchdown plunge by running back Sony Michel and his second one result in a 55-yard field goal from Jason Sanders.

“I thought they were good,” Tagovailoa said of the three drives. “Obviously, there’s always going to be things to get better at. I credit all our success to our O-line. They worked their butts off extremely hard throughout OTAs and then coming into training camp. … None of that would’ve been possible without the run game and then the play-pass game.”

While Tagovailoa had Hill, who posted two receptions for 64 yards, for the first drive, he also had his night without prized free-agent left tackle Terron Armstead or standout second-year wideout Jaylen Waddle. The Eagles mostly rested their starters on Saturday.

“I was just happy for those two,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “They’ve invested a lot. … It was cool to see them not blink and do what they love doing.”

The Dolphins also got the run game going, even as Chase Edmonds sat out the exhibition. Raheem Mostert, Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed combined for 98 first-half yards on the ground on 12 attempts.

“The preseason is really all about fine-tuning things, especially the last game,” Mostert said. “We want to figure out what we need to work on. I know the run game hasn’t been there the previous two games, but when you’ve got to sit back and watch the film each week and critique yourself as an individual it’s very vital you go out there the last preseason game and try to put on what’s been missed the past two games.”

Starting with a 17-0 lead, defensive back Elijah Campbell, a player on the edge of the active roster cutoff line, had a 30-yard pick-six in the second quarter against former Dolphins third-string quarterback Reid Sinnett.

”Quarterbacks make mistakes and you just have to capitalize on those mistakes,” said Campbell, who also had an interception in the preseason opener against the Buccaneers. “It was a little bit of a gift. You can’t drop it.”

Miami added a 27-yard field goal from Sanders with 18 seconds left before halftime on a Teddy Bridgewater-led drive where tight end Hunter Long had a potential touchdown catch punched out by an Eagles defender. Long would’ve been called for offensive pass interference anyway if it was ruled a touchdown catch.

Bridgewater went 4 of 10 for 74 yards. As the Dolphins led the Eagles, 27-0, at halftime, Cracraft saw plenty of action, making four catches on seven targets for 54 yards and the early touchdown.

Thompson, making a case this preseason for the Dolphins to keep a third quarterback, threw a pair of short third-quarter touchdowns near opposite pylons to reserve tight ends — first a 6-yard connection to Long and then a 4-yarder to Cethan Carter.

In the fourth quarter, Thompson, after a fumbled snap exchange and fake pitch, rolled right to find Lynn Bowden short for a 39-yard touchdown, mostly on the run after catch. Thompson went 7 of 10 for 103 yards and the three touchdowns.

The Eagles scored on a 67-yard touchdown run by tailback Jason Huntley where rookie linebacker Channing Tindall, a 2022 third-round pick, missed a tackle near the line of scrimmage to spring him. Cornerback Elijah Hamilton then couldn’t get Huntley out of bounds as he scampered up the sideline.

Tindall had a sack on Saturday, as did fellow linebacker Sam Eguavoen, who recorded a team-high eight tackles.

Gerrid Doaks, a 2021 seventh-round pick, ran for 67 yards on 11 second-half carries. Undrafted rookie ZaQuandre White had four carries for 26 yards.

Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams, who has been on the active roster the past three seasons but capped a nearly invisible preseason on Saturday, muffed a punt return that was recovered by Philadelphia.

The Dolphins concluded their preseason on Saturday. They now have final roster cuts coming on Tuesday and their regular-season opener in two weeks, on Sept. 11, a home game against the New England Patriots.


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