Tua-Mahomes rivalry? Not yet, but the potential is there

In October 2018, long before he won the Super Bowl, questions arose about Patrick Mahomes.

Not about your talent, remember. Even then, there were five departures, you could see how special, how talented. The MVP ceiling was real even then.

But we didn’t know how long it would take for Mahomes to reach the league form. Then a quarterback is often at the peak of his football strength the moment his physical abilities come together with the determination to win the league title.

Think of Steve Young in 1994 or Troy Aikman in ’92. Brett Favre in ’96, Peyton Manning in ’06 or Drew Brees ’09. Or yes, even in 19, Mahomes. You understand the point.

Most defenders need a few moments of post-season heartache before they’re ready to win the Super Bowl, but regular-season clashes against the league’s best offer suggest how prepared they can be to reach the pinnacle of football.

That was the background to the Chiefs-Patriots 6-week clash two years ago, when Mahomes was still his first year as a starter, while Tom Brady wanted to send a message to the young Baki and held back what was an exciting 43-40 New England win.

Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes dazzled fans on Sunday in a round trip that could be a form of upcoming AFC rivalry.  (AP photo / Wilfredo Lee)
Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes dazzled fans on Sunday in a round trip that could be a form of upcoming AFC rivalry. (AP photo / Wilfredo Lee)

It didn’t come easily. Mahomes struggled early, throwing two selections when New England led the 24-9 halftime lead, throwing just 188 yards, and throwing four touchdowns in the second half.

It was a predecessor to what has since turned out to be three more awesome showdowns.

Here’s the gist of this opening salva: In the fourth quarter of the Chiefs ’victory against the Miami Dolphins at 33-27 on Sunday, I could never see the dialogue between this game and“ Mahomes-Brady I ”. possible nuances of rivalry can occur not only between teams but also between defenders.

Tua plays the role of Mahomes 2 years ago

Now, I’m not saying for sure that Dolphins beginner Tua Tagovailoa will one day prove to be a great rival to Mahomes.

I say after their first presentation … well, it still remains an option.

It always takes too much to find a pair of greatness. The question is, “Who is Mahomes’ big rival?” it could easily spread to the next version of the sports conversation: “Should Pete Rose be admitted to the Hall of Fame?”

In other words, blech.

There are other young defenders who have proven more than Tagovailoa, players who deserve to take part in this conversation. One is Joshua Allen of Buffalo, whose strength, second reaction ability and love of the game could one day elevate him to the MVP. Allen and Mahomes have already begun to circle each other as potential rivals, albeit amicably.

The other is Kyler Murray of Arizona, an electric but diminutive toy maker, and Lamar Jackson of Baltimore, provided he continues to develop as a runner-up, or even Joe Burrow of Cincinnati, provided he can beat the Bengals.

And heck, maybe Mahomes ’big rival isn’t even in the league yet, as Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields already seem to be part of the franchise rescuers at the university level.

But something special is happening in Miami. Specifically with his defender.

Tua Tagovailoa was very effective against the defense of the Chiefs, who camouflaged themselves well and put pressure on the defender.  (AP photo / Lynne Sladky)
Tua Tagovailoa was very effective against the Chiefs, which disguises himself well and puts pressure on the defender. (AP photo / Lynne Sladky)

In this game, there were nuances of Mahomes-Brady I, only this time Mahomes played the role of Brady, the proven, elite defender who tried to hold back the young gun. Tua played the role of Mahomes: a cheeky start, showing the following, lightnings to believe in after a slow start.

While the Chiefs won a 24-9 second-half disadvantage a few years ago to close, the Dolphins gathered from a 30-10 second-half disadvantage to close this time. And Tua’s performance was remarkable, especially after a brutal third-quarter bag that resulted in safety and put Miami in that 20-point hole.

Following this game, Tagovailoa scored 17 of 23 passes at 204 yards, with zero picking and another rushing score while showing impressive calm and serenity.

It’s not an easy task against Chiefs coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who is known for disguising his defense as well as anyone in the league and squeezing the quarterback until he proves he can handle it.

Tagovailoa lacked several willing weapons, including DeVante Parker, Myles Gaskin, and Mike Gesicki by the end of the game. Still, he punished the Chiefs several times for bleaching with well-placed dimes at a time Mahomes appreciates.

“This veteran mindset, he could see that when they were there in the game, he didn’t try to force it,” Mahomes said afterwards. “He just took what was there and moved the ball down and found a way to play the game close.”

What do Tua, the dolphins, have to do to have a real rivalry with Mahomes, the leaders

Of course, this moral victory is no relief to the surprising Dolphins, who fell 8-5 in the resurgent season led by sophomore coach Brian Flores.

“I thought he made a lot of games for us, especially in the fourth quarter, threw a few times through the tight windows, got a little confused, put us in a position to score a few points,” Flores said of Tagovailoa. “But at the end of the day, I’m sure you’re not happy.” None of us are. We need to do a better job. We need to make more pieces to appear. We need to make more games than we do today. They made more pieces than we did.

Tagovailoa later said it “really hurts when I get short,” but not in the absence of effort. The dolphins played with lace and advantage for them and got involved in a handful of clashes with the Chiefs and refused to step back into the defending Super Bowl champions.

And even when the Dolphins pulled big in the second half, they still played hard. Especially in defense, where their salty young group performed one of the most difficult tasks in the sport – defeating Mahomes three times in a game.

“It’s a good football team that is likely to get into the playoffs,” Mahomes said. “And a team that’s going to be hard to beat in the playoffs.”

The dolphins are heading up, and how quickly they get to the AFC racers ’point will eventually lead to how quickly Tagovailoa, this year’s fifth national team, takes advantage of his huge potential.

With Tagovailoa’s Sunday game, he did nothing to persuade his followers to sell their shares in Tua, though the Chiefs-Dolphins aren’t a contest yet and Tua-Mahomes certainly isn’t.

“After the game, I had to tell Pat what he had to do,” Tagovailoa said. “You know, we exchanged a few words, congratulations to him, but for me it’s no more me than Pat.” In the game, we are preparing for their defense, not their attack. “

But let’s face it: If these two teams meet in this year’s playoffs and Mahomes tagovailo is dealing with the post-season heartache he needs to reach the “Super Bowl form,” and the Dolphins are still talentedly surrounding Tagovailoa … yes, there’s a chance we’ll look back on this game one day as “Tua-Mahomes I,” the first of multiple showdowns between two big defenders.

Even Mahomes, who has never escaped any challenge, appreciates Miami’s long-term potential.

“It’s going to keep learning more and getting better, and that’s the bright future of the Miami Dolphins,” Mahomes said with a grin. – Hopefully not too bright.

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