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Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, in the concussion protocol for the second time this season, is out for Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel made it official Friday afternoon during his final press conference of the week.
“He’s still in protocol,” McDaniel said. “I just go day by day as instructed. I would say he’s better than the day before.”
This is wholly expected because Tagovailoa suffered a concussion during Miami’s 26-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. It is his second confirmed concussion of the season.
Tagovailoa has not practiced or engaged in significant say over the game plan this week. McDaniel said his conversations with Tagovailoa have been limited to discussing the movie MacGruber, which is one of the coach’s favorites. He will be missing his third game of the season because of a concussion.
It is unclear at what point Tagovaioloa sustained the head trauma against the Packers but there is a good chance it happened when he hit his head on the turf during the second quarter take down by a blitzing Packers defensive back.
Tagovailoa was not removed from the game and threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter. It is unclear what role the concussion had in that substandard performance.
Tagovailoa Suffered Concussion Against Packers
At one point after the game Tagovailoa seemed confused in explaining one of the interceptions.
“The second one, I might have said the wrong play,” Tagovailoa said after the game. “I’m not too sure. But there was just some communication errors on that.”
The NFL is currently reviewing the circumstances of Tagovailoa’s latest concussion.
“A joint NFL-NFLPA review of the application of the concussion protocol involving Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is now underway,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “We welcome that review, and as we have done previously, we will report the results in conjunction with the NFLPA.”
The NFL previously investigated the Dolphins for their handling of Tagovailoa and the application of the concussion protocol. That investigation began after the quarterback was injured against the Buffalo Bills. Tagovailoa left that game with apparent concussion symptoms but returned, with doctors saying he was suffering from a back issue.
NFL Investigating the Dolphins Again
Four days later Tagovailoa did indeed suffer a concussion after a sack against the Cincinnati Bengals. The first investigation did not blame the Dolphins for their handling of the protocol. The protocol was, however, altered throughout the league.
Although Tagovailoa left that Bengals game on a stretcher, he at no point left the Miami loss to Green Bay.
The Dolphins will start Teddy Bridgewater against the Patriots. It will be his second start this season.
Bridgewater started the Sept. 26 game at the New York Jets when Tagovailoa was in the concussion protocol the first time this season. Bridgewater lasted only one play in that game. The NFL independent neurologist ordered Bridgewater removed for exhibiting concussion symptoms.
The Dolphins lost that game. Bridgewater did not start the following week against Minnesota, but took over when third-stringer Skylar Thompson was ineffective.
This season Bridgewater has completed 37 of 60 passes for 329 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions.
Dolphins Playoff Hopes Hinge On Bridgewater
The Dolphins are vying for a playoff spot and could earn that this weekend if they get some help.
If Miami beats the Patriots and the Jets lose or tie in Seattle, then Miami is in the playoffs.
The Dolphins also get in the playoffs if they tie the Patriots while the Jets and Steelers lose or tie.