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Tua Tagovailoa enters NFL concussion protocol for a third time in 2022

Tua Tagovailoa
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Early during the 2022 season, now armed with an offensive-minded head coach, empowered by a Pro Bowl cast of pass-catchers featuring Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, Tua Tagovailoa was a popular choice to win MVP.

But we haven’t seen the same Pro Bowl-level play out of the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback in his past four starts, and his struggles seemed to reach new lows during the fourth quarter of Miami’s loss to Green Bay on Sunday.

Tagovailoa ultimately threw three interceptions in the game’s final frame to help Aaron Rodgers complete the comeback win.

To most, this was simply a product of compounding mistakes by continuing to make poor decisions. Yet, now many are wondering whether Tagovailoa’s judgment was impaired, thanks to the 24-year-old QB suffering his third concussion of the season.

On Monday, it was announced that Tagovailoa has entered the league’s concussion protocol, which, as mentioned, is the third time in three months. Not good for the brain.

Here’s the play where the fifth overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft is believed to have suffered the apparent concussion.

Related: How Tua Tagovailoa has forced Miami Dolphins to re-evaluate QB situation in 2023

NFL drops the ball with Tua Tagovailoa’s latest concussion

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Miami Dolphins
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Note the time on the game clock when this play occurred. It came with just over two minutes left in the second quarter.

Shouldn’t one of the NFL’s spotters have realized or recognized how hard Tagovailoa’s helmet slammed into the grass at Hard Rock Stadium? How in the world did he continue on for two more quarters without any coaches, teammates, or medical assistants noticing he may have suffered another head injury?

It’s yet another big blunder on the NFL’s side, and even for Tagovailoa, who, at this point, has to know what a concussion feels like. Yet, there’s also an argument to be made that maybe this singular hit wasn’t enough to cause a concussion in one fell swoop. Maybe his condition worsened as the game went on with each hit he took.

Related: Tua Tagovailoa hints his parents might not have supported his NFL return after concussion

Either way, Dolphins observers will point to the three interceptions by Tagovailoa late in the game as clear and obvious evidence that something just wasn’t right with the team’s franchise QB.

For now, Teddy Bridgewater is expected to receive full-time reps until Tagovailo can clear the league’s concussion protocol, which, as we learned earlier this season, could take longer than one week. And being that this has been a continued issue, maybe it makes more sense for the Miami medical staff to withhold Tagovailoa for at least two weeks to give his head more time to heal.

Off the top of my head, I can’t recall another time a player suffered three concussions in the same season, let alone in a matter of a few months. While there’s been a larger effort to identify concussion symptoms in recent time, it doesn’t seem like the league’s issues with head injuries are going away anytime soon, and Tagovailoa’s experience in 2022 is a classic example.

Related: NFL QB Rankings: Derek Carr’s bad day places him in bottom-tier of signal-callers