Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the NFL in passing yards and touchdown passes last season, and the Chiefs clinched the 2022 campaign by winning Super Bowl LVII.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL in passing yards and touchdown passes this season.
On Sunday, the quarterback teams will face off in Frankfurt, Germany.
“It’s not easy against Pat,” Tagovailoa said. “But I would say, and Pat said the same, I’m not playing with Pat, Pat is playing with me. It is our fault to oppose their defence; their offense must be against our defense. We’re preparing their defense like any other defense, just trying to see how many times we can score, get the ball into the end zone. At the end of the day what we’re trying to do is try to get one point ahead of the other team and try to win.”
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For Tagovailoa to enjoy the same type of season that Mahomes did in 2022 will require more than replicating big passing numbers. Miami also needs an NFL championship, and this season marks the 50th anniversary of the Dolphins’ most recent Super Bowl victory.
At 6-2, Miami clinched the title, matching the record of the other AFC division leaders – the Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars. But none of the teams the Dolphins have beaten so far in 2023 have a winning record during this time. Miami’s opponents who did — the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles — limited the Dolphins to their two lowest totals of the season.
“Any opportunity for us to play a team that has been to the Super Bowl in the past few years or the year before and won it, I think that’s always a big challenge,” Tagovailoa said. “For our team to get this opportunity to face Pat Mahomes’ team, it will be fun and it will give us an opportunity to see where we are going this bye week as a team.”
Tagovailoa holds the NFL record for 11 consecutive victories against Super Bowl-winning coaches as a starting quarterback. During the tournament, the former Alabama All-American and the Dolphins beat Bill Belichick six times, Sean Payton twice and Jon Gruden, John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin once.
The streak began after a 33-27 loss by coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs on December 13, 2020. Tagovailoa lost his last game against Kansas City despite completing 28 of 48 passes for 316 yards with two touchdowns one interception and ran for 24 yards on one touchdown on six carries.
Mahomes completed 24-of-36 passes for 393 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in that game.
“I think there are a lot of different things,” said Tagovailoa talking about his first game with Mahomes and the Chiefs, “one of which is the offensive system I play in now compared to the offensive system I had then. the supporting cast that I have, and it’s really just a lot of different things. We will see what happens this Sunday.”
The Dolphins and Chiefs will meet at 8:30 am CST Sunday at Deutsche Bank Park in the NFL’s first game in Frankfurt. The NFL Network will televise the game.
“Football has opened many avenues for me,” said Tagovailoa. “It’s obvious that in America, the position it gives you, and that it allows you to do things that others are not lucky enough to do. The money we make, puts into perspective a lot of things that normal, hard-working people probably don’t do. For us to be able to come out here and travel as a team, it gives you that opportunity again, not only in touring countries, but to go outside the States, to go to other countries and really express what Americans love about American football. and trying to share that with the world and things like that. Football has done a great job in helping not only me, but a lot of our guys have experiences like this.”
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.