BALTIMORE — Down by three touchdowns, Tua Tagovailoa and his speedy Miami receivers raced past the Baltimore Ravens in a stirring fourth-quarter comeback.
Even Lamar Jackson couldn’t keep up.
Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns, four of which came during the final period, and the Dolphins rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Jackson, 42-38, on Sunday. Tagovailoa’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle with 14 seconds left completed the incredible comeback after Miami trailed, 35-14, with under 13 minutes remaining.
“This just shows the resiliency of our team,” Tagovailoa said. “You look at the big picture of it, the confidence goes up.”
Through his first two seasons with Miami, Tagovailoa was adequate but not exactly a star. So this performance was huge for the Dolphins (2-0) and new coach Mike McDaniel. This was Tagovailoa’s first 400-yard passing game, and his six TDs tied a team record held by Bob Griese and Dan Marino.
“I think it was a moment he’ll never forget and can use it moving forward,” McDaniel said. “I couldn’t be happier for him. His teammates learned a lot about him, and I think he learned something about himself.”
Tyreek Hill had touchdown catches of 48 and 60 yards during that rally, the latter of which tied the game with 5:19 to play.
Justin Tucker kicked a 51-yard field goal with 2:18 remaining to put Baltimore ahead, but that was far too much time for Miami’s offense, which the Ravens (1-1) didn’t come close to stopping in the final quarter as it racked up 233 yards in that period alone.
The Dolphins overcame a spectacular performance by Jackson, who threw three first-half touchdown passes and then gave Baltimore its 21-point lead with a 79-yard TD run in the third. Jackson threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns. The Ravens got into position for Jackson to throw a desperation pass on the final play of the game, but that fell incomplete.
Tagovailoa was intercepted twice in the first half, but he more than made up for that. Waddle had 11 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and Hill had 11 for 190 yards and his two TDs.
“He was making some throws, and those guys were doing their thing,” Jackson said. “Waddle, Tyreek — heck of a player. Shout out to Tua because he did his thing.”
Devin Duvernay returned the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown, and the Ravens, who visit Foxborough next week for the Patriots’ home opener, never trailed until the final seconds. They might have scored a TD on all four of their offensive possessions in the first half if not for a fumble near the Miami goal line.
The Dolphins couldn’t recreate their exceptional defensive effort of a season ago, when their blitz wreaked havoc on the Baltimore offense. The Ravens lost that game, 22-10, on their lowest-scoring night of the season.
Jackson put the Ravens up, 14-7, with a short pass over the middle that Rashod Bateman turned into a 75-yard touchdown. Later in the second quarter, he threw for TDs of 1 yard to Mark Andrews and 12 yards to Demarcus Robinson.
Then Jackson’s most spectacular play came near the end of the third, when he faked a handoff and breezed through a big hole up the middle and past the Miami secondary. The touchdown was the longest run of Jackson’s career, and it also put him over 100 yards rushing, a record 11th time he’s done that. He previously shared the mark for quarterbacks with Michael Vick, who had 10 100-yard games on the ground.
Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history with both a touchdown pass and a touchdown run of at least 75 yards in the same game. He finished with 119 yards on nine carries.
After Duvernay’s touchdown to start the game, Tagovailoa drove the Dolphins into Baltimore territory, but Marcus Williams created a turnover with a remarkable display of concentration. He jumped in front of Hill to break up a pass, and while lying on the grass, he reached out to catch the falling ball before it hit the ground.
The Ravens drove to the 1-yard line, but after a third-down touchdown run by Jackson was overturned on replay, the Baltimore quarterback lost control of the snap on what looked like a quarterback sneak attempt on fourth down.
Miami drove 94 yards and tied it at 7 on Tagovailoa’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Waddle.
With the Ravens up, 21-7, Tagovailoa’s deep pass was picked off — again by Williams — and that gave Baltimore a chance to score once more before halftime.
Tagovailoa threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki to make it 28-14 in the third, and his 2-yarder to River Cracraft in the fourth made it 35-21.