How Tua channeled Donovan McNabb in first career NFL start


Tua Tagovailoa made his first career NFL start on Sunday in a surprising 28-17 win over the Rams, putting the Dolphins one game over .500 through eight weeks.

And, interestingly, he managed to bring back memories of former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Tagovailoa's start came in a pretty unorthodox game, featuring a punt return TD and a fumble return TD for Miami, which helped protect the rookie - who had a very mild game.

In fact, he did something that hadn't been done since McNabb's first career game in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

That's not an easy feat! 

Here's a comparison of stats from the two debuts, side by side:

  • McNabb: 8 for 21, 60 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 49 rush yards
  • Tagovailoa: 12 for 22, 93 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 rush yards

McNabb's first career start was Nov. 14, 1999, a 35-28 win in Week 10 over a 5-win Washington team. The Rams, interestingly enough, are also a 5-win team, though Tagovailoa's first start came in Week 8.

And they also differed in one key area: Tagovailoa threw his first career touchdown in his first start:

McNabb's first career TD came in his second start, a loss against the Colts.

However strange his first career start was was, you can bet Dolphins fans would be thrilled if Tagovailoa's career follows the path of McNabb's career. We'll see what the rookie's got the rest of this season.