When the Miami Dolphins selected quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, it was clear it would only be a matter of time before he inherited the job as the starter.
It's a moment that fans in Florida have been waiting for, ever since the former Alabama star put on the aqua and orange uniform. The Dolphins have been searching for a true franchise quarterback ever since Hall of Fame legend Dan Marino played his last game in 2000.
That moment finally came this week.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores announced that the rookie would replace veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick when Miami took on the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8. It was a somewhat controversial decision considering Fitzpatrick had been playing well and the Dolphins were winning games. Fitzpatrick has been supportive of Tagovailoa since the team acquired the rookie, but even Fitzpatrick couldn't hide his disappointment at getting benched at this stage of the season.
NFL Week 8: Miami Dolphins win in Tua's first start
While he didn't do much against the Rams in his first start, Tua did enough to get the job done.
Tagovailoa helped secure a 28-17 victory in his first start for the Miami Dolphins, completing 12 of 22 passes for just 96 yards. He also completed his first NFL touchdown pass, on a 3-yard slant pattern to wide receiver DeVante Parker.
With that toss, Tua became the first QB to throw a touchdown pass in his debut as the Miami Dolphins' starter since Chad Henne did it back in 2009.
And it didn't take long for fans of The Fish to quickly voice their approval of Tua on Twitter:
While much of the attention was on Tagovailoa, the Dolphins' biggest play was actually delivered by Jakeem Grant. The speedy wide receiver had an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown that put the Dolphins up 21-7 in the second quarter.
That was the turning point of the game, as the Miami Dolphins played conservative in the second half, helping to preserve the first career win for their rookie play-caller.
Tagovailoa will get his next test when the Miami Dolphins (4-3) travel to Arizona to face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals (5-2).
The Cardinals can be something of a role model for the Dolphins. Arizona's franchise was struggling and constantly looking for its QB when Murray was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2019. After a rocky rookie season from a win-loss perspective, this season Murray has the Cardinals looking much improved.
The Miami Dolphins are hopeful that Tua Tagovailoa can do the same for them.