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Sharp Tua Tagovailoa leads Dolphins past Panthers

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Sharp Tua Tagovailoa leads Dolphins past Panthers
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 27 of 31 passes for 230 yards and a score in a win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Tua Tagovailoa authored the most-accurate performance of his young NFL career while veteran Cam Newton was benched due to a very poor showing as the Miami Dolphins beat the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Tagovailoa completed 27 of 31 passes for 230 passing yards and one touchdown in the 33-10 victory at Hard Rock Stadium. The victory extended the Dolphins' win streak to four-consecutive games.

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"We look like the team we wanted to be at the beginning of this year," Tagovailoa told reporters.

"A lot of guys went out there confident, knowing what to expect on offense, defense and in the kicking game."

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Rookie linebacker Jaelan Phillips led the Dolphins defense with three sacks. Xavien Howard, Nik Needham and Jevon Holland each logged interceptions in the win.

"Everything is clicking and we are on the right path," Howard said.

Newton completed just 5 of 21 passes for 92 yards and two interceptions in the loss. His 5.8 passer rating from the performance is a career-low.

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"We lost footing early," Newton said. "We just gotta find ways to get back on track. Nothing they did was out of the ordinary. It just comes down to execution."

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Dolphins linebacker Duke Riley blocked a Panthers punt and cornerback Justin Coleman recovered the ball in the end zone for the first points of the game. That score occurred about six minutes into the first quarter.

The Panthers answered with a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Newton ran for a 1-yard score to end that possession.

The next two Panthers drives resulted in Newton interceptions. The Dolphins turned the second turnover into points when Tagovailoa threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle nine minutes before halftime.

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Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown 4:29 later for a 21-7 advantage.

Panthers kicker Zane Gonzalez made a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The Dolphins pushed their advantage to 27-10 when Gaskin ran for another short score with 4:11 left in the third quarter.

Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders made field goals on the next two drives to increase the lead to 23 points.

Waddle totaled a career-high 137 yards on nine catches in the victory. Gaskin ran for 49 yards, in addition to his two scores, on 16 carries.

The Dolphins defense held running back Christian McCaffrey to 35 yards on 10 carries. McCaffrey also sustained an ankle injury in the first half of the loss.

"The guys had a good week of preparation and I think that showed up today," Flores said.

"Our coaches did a great job of getting us prepared and the players executed."

The Dolphins (5-7) host the New York Giants (4-7) at 1 p.m. EST Dec. 5 at Hard Rock Stadium. The Panthers (5-7) host the Atlanta Falcons (5-6) at 1 p.m. EST Dec. 12 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

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