Tua Tagovailoa's career-best performance leads Miami Dolphins to comeback win over Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE -- Miami Dolphins players didn't need any further proof of Tua Tagovailoa's competence.

So even after a performance that only one other player had recorded in franchise history, there was no message sent to the locker room; the quarterback's teammates hadn't seen anything they didn't think he was capable of.

"We expect that from [Tua]," wide receiver Jaylen Waddle said. "We're confident in him; he's confident in himself. I mean, it's good for y'all to see but we kind of expect that."

Tagovailoa set career highs with 469 passing yards and six touchdowns in the Dolphins' 42-38 comeback win Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens, becoming the second quarterback in franchise history to record at least 400 passing yards and five touchdowns in a single game.

The other? Dan Marino.

In the second half alone, Tagovailoa threw for 319 yards and five touchdowns with the Dolphins essentially putting the ball in his hands to erase a 21-point halftime deficit. He was particularly effective in the fourth quarter, completing 13 of 17 passes for 199 yards and four scores.

"It felt good. We were executing on all cylinders," Tagovailoa said. "And then there were times when we didn't execute, and no one panicked. Everyone just came back into the huddle, and we regrouped, and we went back out there and tried to execute whatever play we were given."

For the first time since 2011, a team came back to win after trailing by at least 21 points in the fourth quarter. Prior to Miami's win, teams trailing in that scenario were 0-711, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Dolphins were able to break that streak largely due to the connections between Tagovailoa and receivers Tyreek Hill and Waddle, who combined for 361 yards and four touchdowns. Hill and Waddle are the first pair of teammates to each record at least 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a game since 1991.

Hill and Waddle walked off the field as the NFL's leading and second-leading receivers, respectively.

Baltimore jumped out to a 28-7 lead after scoring on the game's opening kickoff and three of its first four offensive drives. After the Dolphins led for the entirety of their season-opening win over the New England Patriots, coach Mike McDaniel hoped they would face a deficit Sunday to see how they would respond to adversity.

"Apparently they just took me way too literal," McDaniel said after the game. "They're investing more than they ever have. They're really all-in, and it was way disappointing. And so when you're down, the tendency is to kind of hang your head. ... I just challenged them to say, 'Who cares what the score is?'"

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter before Miami exploded for four touchdowns in the fourth, outscoring the Ravens 28-3 in the game's final frame.

Hill came alive in that fourth quarter, corralling all five of his targets for 142 yards and two touchdowns of 48 and 60 yards -- all after briefly leaving the game with cramps.

The six-time Pro Bowler spent most of the offseason lauding Tagovailoa and felt vindicated after Sunday's game.

"Man, I don't have to say too much, man -- all you got to do is look at his game film," Hill said. "It's Tua, and who he is and how consistent he is. You know that last drive we had, it really showed me who he is as a leader. You know, getting everybody inside of the huddle, telling guys, 'Make sure you run the ball to the official or hand it to Connor [Williams].' Just small things, you know, to save time. And, you know, be able for us to go down the field and make a play."

Tagovailoa found Hill for long touchdowns on consecutive drives to tie the game with 5 minutes, 19 seconds remaining. Justin Tucker's 51-yard field goal gave the Ravens a three-point lead with just over two minutes left in the game, but Miami quickly went 58 yards in three plays to reach the Ravens' 7-yard line on the ensuing drive.

Waddle said Tagovailoa offered a commanding message in the huddle with the game's final seconds ticking off the clock.

"He told us, 'It's either us or them right now,'" Waddle said. "That got me going, man."

Tagovailoa found Waddle for a 7-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left to put the Dolphins ahead for good.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for Tagovailoa, as he threw two first-half interceptions -- but McDaniel was thrilled with the way the third-year quarterback responded.

"This is huge because he stopped worrying about the last play and he went and played and took his responsibility to his teammates seriously," McDaniel said. "It is what you get into sports for. ... I think it was a moment that he'll never forget that hopefully he can use moving forward because ... we basically had to play perfect complementary football to come back from a deficit like that against a really good team. Couldn't be happier for him."