Tua Tagovailoa Out of Concussion Protocol, Cleared to Play for Miami Dolphins
It’s been three weeks since Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a gruesome head injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on “Thursday Night Football,” but he’s cleared concussion protocol and returned to practice to prep for an upcoming game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on “Sunday Night Football.”
The Dolphins (3-3) lost three straight games since Tagovailoa exited Week 4 with a concussion. In an unusual bout of misfortune, the Dolphins had three starting quarterbacks go down in consecutive games.
Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion in Week 4 against the New York Jets, and the Dolphins lost in a 40-17 blowout.
Last Sunday, the Dolphins inserted rookie third-stringer Skylar Thompson into the starting lineup against the Minnesota Vikings. Thompson exited his first-career start with a hand injury and Bridgewater came off the bench to finish the game. The Dolphins lost their third straight game and sunk to 3-3 after being beat by the Vikings 24-16.
The Dolphins are eager to get Tagovailoa back on the field. Their offense generated 16 points per game during their three-game losing streak. During their 3-0 winning streak to start the season, the Dolphins averaged 27.6 points per game with Tagovailoa under center.
Tagovailoa: Blank Space Where His Mind Should Be
Tagovailoa talked to reporters for the first time after practice this week. He shared details about what happened after Josh Tupou from the Bengals knocked him out of the game after a sack in the second quarter.
I wouldn’t say it was scary for me at the time because there was a point where I was unconscious, so I couldn’t really tell what was going on,” said Tagovailoa. “When I did come to and kind of realized what was going on and what was happening, I didn’t think of anything long term or short term. I was just wondering what happened.”
As soon as Tagovailoa hit the ground, his hands and fingers seized up. It was a harrowing image that occurred on a prime-time game on “Thursday Night Football.”
There was universal outrage after the incident because Tagovailoa clearly suffered a head injury a few days before in a comeback victory against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. He hit the back of his head on one play and stumbled back to the huddle with the aid of his teammates. The medical staff evaluated him but diagnosed a back injury and cleared him of a concussion. The doctor who evaluated Tagovailoa at halftime of the Bills game has since been fired.
Dolphins Look to End Skid Against Steelers
The Dolphins host the Steelers (2-4) in Week 7. The Steelers are fresh off an upset victory against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. The Dolphins are -7 favorites with Tagovailoa back in the lineup against the Steelers.
The Dolphins started the season with a 3-0 record against the spread, but failed to cover in their last three games. Their betting record has dropped to 3-3 ATS.
After the Dolphins won their first three games, their Super Bowl LVII odds improved to +1800 at DraftKings. After losing three games in a row, the Dolphins slipped to +4000 odds to win the Super Bowl.
Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol last Saturday, but the Dolphins kept him out of Week 6’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because he didn’t practice with the team that week. He resumed a normal practice routine this week to prepare against the Steelers.
Despite the concussion and subsequent three-game skid, Tagovailoa said he’s not going to make any drastic changes to how he approaches the game.
Just gotta be myself,” he said. “I’m not the savior of this team. I don’t just come in and we start winning games. It’s a team deal. So for me, don’t try to force anything. Don’t try to make plays that aren’t there. Just give our playmakers the ball and let them go to work.”
Tagovailoa threw eight touchdowns this season, including six in a stunning comeback victory against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. In the first three games of the season, he completed 72% of his passes.
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