The San Francisco 49ers have a pretty scary defense. Just ask Tua Tagovailoa.
The Miami Dolphins quarterback threw two interceptions, lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, was sacked three times and left Sunday's 33-17 loss to the Niners with an ankle injury.
Talk about a tough night at the office.
Tagovailoa has been excellent at protecting the ball this season and had gone 193 pass attempts without an interception, per the FOX broadcast (h/t The Sporting News), before throwing picks on back-to-back throws against San Francisco.
NFL Twitter was surprised to see Tagovailoa struggle so much to protect the ball against the 49ers:
Benjamin Solak @BenjaminSolak
This Tua performance is worse than I expected it would be. The early-game hits have clearly made him jumpy. Accuracy, timing, and trust in the offense have all fallen away. The Niners are pressing, sending heat, and daring Tua to beat them vertically -- so far, he hasn't.
It wasn't all bad for the young quarterback; he also threw for 295 yards and two scores, including a 75-yard strike to Trent Sherfield on the game's first play from scrimmage. And after his 45-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill early in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins only found themselves down 23-17 despite Tagovailoa's struggles.
But Robbie Gould's field goal with just 2:03 remaining, and Tagovailoa's fumble on the ensuing drive that was taken to the house by Dre Greenlaw, wrapped things up for the Niners.
While Tagovailoa faltered, Niners backup quarterback Brock Purdy—who was thrust into action after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a foot injury in the first quarter and was unable to return—had an excellent game considering the circumstances, finishing 25-of-37 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
It might be unfair to say that Purdy outplayed Tagovailoa, but he certainly managed the game well, helping his team win the turnover battle 4-1. That ultimately was the difference between the teams, as Miami's turnovers led to 13 points.