Sun Life Stadium Miami Gardens

Los Angeles Rams vs. Miami Dolphins Pick & Prediction NOV 1TH 2020

Logo Los Angeles Rams
Logo Miami Dolphins

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It's Tua time in Miami.


The Dolphins host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday with the unveiling of their new starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.


The former University of Alabama star was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and prepared behind Ryan Fitzpatrick until the team's bye this past week.


Tagovailoa, who helped Alabama win a national title in 2017 and earned All-America status the following season, made his pro debut on Oct. 18 in a 24-0 win over the New York Jets. Playing in "garbage time," Tagovailoa completed his only two passes for nine yards.


Now Tagovailoa will get his first start for the Dolphins (3-3), who have won two consecutive games. Since the Dolphins are coming off a bye week, Tagovailoa will have had 13 days to prepare for the Rams (5-2) since the announcement was made that he would be replacing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.


"That kid is incredible," Dolphins defensive end Shaq Lawson said when asked about Tagovailoa, 22. "I've seen how athletic he is in practice. You wouldn't think he's a rookie from watching him in practice."


Tagovailoa completed 71.4 percent of his passes last year for Alabama before he was sidelined by a serious hip injury. In 32 career games at Alabama, he completed 69.3 percent and had 87 touchdown throws with just 11 interceptions.


The Dolphins, who went 5-11 last season, appear to be on the rise under second-year coach Brian Flores, who has his team in second place in the AFC East, ahead of the New England Patriots.


But the Rams, led by superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald, provide a tough test.


Miami will be the more rested team. The Rams are on a short week after they defeated the Chicago Bears 24-10 on Monday night.


The Rams' defense allowed just three points, picked off two passes and held Chicago to 2.9 yards per rush, turning the Bears over on downs three times.


Donald, who is first in the NFC and second in the NFL with eight sacks, is the leader of that fearsome Rams defense. He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and is the frontrunner this year, too.


"He never gets complacent," Rams coach Sean McVay said of Donald, who set an NFL record in 2018 for sacks by a defensive tackle (20.5).


The Rams will line Donald up in different spots to try to get him away from double teams. He will be a handful for a Dolphins offensive line that starts two rookies on the right side, guard Solomon Kindley and tackle Robert Hunt.


Miami's running game has been anemic, ranking 22nd in the NFL (105.2 yards per game). Those numbers don't figure to improve against a Rams run defense that ranks seventh-best in the league.


If those trends hold, it will put even more pressure on Tagovailoa to find targets such as DeVante Parker and Preston Williams as well as emerging tight end Mike Gesicki. Parker, however, has been limited in practice this week due to a groin injury.


Sunday's game will also feature two of perhaps the top three cornerbacks in the game -- Miami's Xavien Howard, who is tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions, and Los Angeles' Jalen Ramsey, who recorded his first INT of the season against the Bears.


Rams quarterback Jared Goff, lost in the pre-game hype because of Tagovailoa's first start, is having a bounce-back season after throwing a career-high 16 interceptions last year.


Goff, the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, is heading into his prime at age 26. His completion percentage is up this year (a career-high 67.7), and he has thrown 12 TD passes with just four interceptions.


On the injury front, the Rams will be without rookie safety Terrell Burgess, who suffered a broken ankle against Chicago and is out for the rest of the season.


For the Dolphins, defensive starters Kyle Van Noy (foot), Raekwon Davis (shoulder) and Bobby McCain (ankle) were limited Wednesday.


--Field Level Media


Los Angeles Rams
Miami Dolphins

Los Angeles Rams vs. Miami Dolphins

Rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa won in his first NFL start, Jakeem Grant scored on an 88-yard punt return, and their defense forced four first-half turnovers as the host Miami Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Rams 28-17 on Sunday afternoon.

The Rams had 471 yards of total offense to just 145 for the Dolphins.

But Miami (4-3), which has won three straight games, scored 28 consecutive first-half points, thanks in large part to four turnovers by Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

While Goff -- a fifth-year pro -- made rookie-type mistakes for the Rams (5-3), Tagovailoa showed relative poise after an early fumble. Tagovailoa completed 12-of-22 passes for 93 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

Goff completed 35-of-61 passes for 355 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions and two fumbles. Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp caught 11 passes for 110 yards, both game-highs.

Miami's defense was led by Andrew Van Ginkel, who scored on a 78-yard fumble return; Kyle Van Noy, who ran 28 yards with a fumble that was forced by Shaq Lawson; and Eric Rowe and Christian Wilkins, who each had an interception. Rowe also dropped a would-be pick-six.

Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was activated but did not play due to an unspecified illness. The Rams also lost running back Darrell Henderson (thigh injury).

Tagovailoa fumbled on his first attempt to throw as Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald knocked the ball loose, and Leonard Floyd recovered at Miami's 15-yard line.

Three plays later, it was 7-0 as the Rams scored on wide receiver Robert Woods' 4-yard jet sweep.

Tagovailoa's first NFL touchdown pass capped Miami's fourth possession as he tossed a 3-yard slant to closely-guarded DeVante Parker. Wilkins, a defensive tackle and Miami's 2019 first-round pick, set up the drive by dropping into coverage on a zone blitz and then making his interception.

Later in the quarter, there were two lost fumbles in a span of three plays. First, Miami running back Myles Gaskin lost a fumble at his own 7, recovered by Troy Hill. But then Miami's Emmanuel Ogbah was unblocked off of his left side. His sack created a fumble, and Van Ginkel returned it for a 14-7 Dolphins lead.

Grant's punt return -- virtually untouched -- made it 21-7, and Van Noy's interception return to the Rams' 1 set up Gaskin for a running touchdown on the next play.

Los Angeles got to Miami's 5 at the end of the half, but two straight incompletions forced a 23-yard Kai Forbath field goal that cut the Dolphins' lead to 28-10.

With 9:58 left in the fourth, Goff threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Woods, but Forbath missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt on Los Angeles' next possession, virtually ending the Rams' hopes.

--Field Level Media

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