During Miami’s Week 4 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa’s head slammed into the turf after being thrown to the ground in the first half. The severity of the head injury caused a fencing response, with Tagovailoa’s arms and fingers locking into an unnatural position.
- Tua Tagovailoa stats (2022): 3-1 record, 69.6% completion rate, 1,035 passing yards, 8-3 TD-INT, 109.9 QB rating
He was immediately carted and hospitalized, sparking more criticism against the NFL and the Dolphins’ medical staff for allowing Tagovailoa to play days after he showed instability following a hit to the head on Sep. 25. While he was released from the hospital Thursday night and flew home with the team, he is still not ready to return.
During Monday’s press conference, head coach Mike McDaniel announced that Tagovailoa won’t face the New York Jets in Week 5. While the team is optimistic regarding the quarterback’s recovery, he remains in the concussion protocol and the organization is proceeding with caution after everything that happened.
With Tagovailoa sidelined, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater steps in as the starter. In two relief appearances this season, the 29-year-old quarterback holds a 56% completion rate with 193 passing yards and a 1-1 TD-INT line on 25 attempts. He performed fairly well in emergency relief of Tagovailoa last Thursday, finishing with an 84.1 quarterback rating.
There is no timetable for Tagovailoa to return as the 24-year-old still reported experiencing headaches over the weekend. Considering the team already ruled him out for Week 5 with six days before kickoff, it’s possible he is also unavailable for the Week 6 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
As Tagovailoa recovers from his head injury and the Dolphins prepare for their next game, the NFL and NFL Players Association are actively investigating how the team handled the original head injury. The NFLPA already faced calls for an inquiry after it allowed Tagovailoa to play in Week 4 minutes after he hit his head on the turf and then showed gross motor instability, needing assistance to walk off the field.
The fallout has already resulted in one Dolphins’ medical consultant being fired and the NFL is making adjustments to its concussion protocol. When the investigation is concluded, the NFL will publish its findings and could hand down any discipline it determines is necessary.