— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 26, 2022
Tagovailoa suffered his injury during the 26-20 loss to the Packers. On Monday, he exhibited and acknowledged concussion symptoms when speaking with team doctors and was subsequently placed in the protocol.
Tagovailoa’s situation may help explain why the Dolphins were unable to put across any points during the second half on Sunday. The fact that he threw interceptions on the final three Dolphins’ drives of the game also stands out.
if this play at 2:40 was Tua's concussion, here are his stats:
pre-concussion: 9/12, 229 yds, 19.1 YPA, 1 TD, 0 INT
post-concussion: 7/13, 81 yds, 6.2 YPA, 0 TD, 3 INTspic.twitter.com/0FvirTtxnR
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 26, 2022
Even though the desperate Dolphins need Tagovailoa back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Patriots, they will undoubtedly remain cautious about returning him to the field.
That approach stems from the huge controversy that developed in the early weeks of the 2022 regular season.
In the Dolphins’ Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa sustained a hard hit and then staggered after getting up. He was only off the field a short time before returning to the game.
Then, in the Dolphins’ road game at Cincinnati just four days later, Tagovailoa slammed his head on the field. He was carted off the field and checked out at a local hospital.
Prior to the game against Cincinnati, the uproar over playing Tagovailoa had already gotten people’s attention. Afterwards, the controversy became a national news story and led to steep criticism around the league.
The furor also resulted in the dismissal of the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) who helped assess the original injury.
Until the recent four-game losing streak, the Dolphins had thrived when Tagovailoa was on the field. Evidence of that can be seen by the fact that the only three losses prior to the losing skid came in the Cincinnati game and the two games that followed, which he missed.
Still, what had been a clear path to the postseason a month ago has now been changed to two consecutive crucial contests against the New England Patriots and New York Jets. Winning both of those games will put the Dolphins in the playoffs.
The Dolphins, while concerned about Tagovailoa’s situation, can’t afford to do anything but focus on their game with the Patriots. If Tagovailoa is unable to go, reserve quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will take over his duties.