A battle between the rookie quarterbacks is brewing.
On Sunday, Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers and Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins will finally battle it out for gridiron glory as the two players meet at Hard Rock Stadium.
Herbert and Tagovailoa have each had different paths to their starting roles with their respective pro teams, but their separation by one spot in the NFL Draft will forever link the up-and-coming QBs.
Herbert, a former star out of Oregon, has thrived since being taken at No. 6 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Since Herbert was unexpectedly thrusted under center as the Chargers starting QB in Week 2, he has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,146 yards in seven games. Herbert has ignited flashes on the ground, carrying the ball 33 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chargers are 2-6 overall and 1-6 under Herbert, but one can’t fault the 22-year-old rising star. He’s put his team in the driver’s seat each week and proved to L.A. that he’s downright sensational with his cannon arm. As a rookie, Herbert is ranked third in the NFL with 306.6 yards per game. With 17 touchdown passes and just five interceptions, he is a leading candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year honors.
In back-to-back weeks, the Chargers have lost on the very last play of the game, but Week 10 could be the week that all changes for Los Angeles.
Tagovailoa is coming up on the one-year anniversary of the devastating hip injury that almost ended his football career, and left questions among teams who were interested in the Alabama playmaker ahead of the NFL Draft.
Nonetheless, Miami took a shot on Tagovailoa, selecting him fifth-overall in April. The Dolphins waited until Week 8 to give the 22-year-old the reins, in part to make sure he was fully healthy.
In his debut, Tagovailoa threw for just 93 yards vs. the Los Angeles Rams, but the Dolphins signal caller helped Miami squeak by Arizona last week, as he passed for 238 yards in the 34-31 thriller.
Now, Tagovailoa is 2-0 as starter for the Dolphins, and his 5-3 squad has a legit opportunity to contend for a playoff spot.
Will the under-hyped Herbert outduel Tagovailoa and prove to the naysayers that he deserved more praise, or will the former Alabama star uphold the testament that the gap between the two QBs stands for a reason? The outcome of Week 10’s rookie showdown will be telling.