By Henry McKenna
FOX Sports activities AFC East Author
The Miami Dolphins have pulled off a handful of untamed wins this season, together with two fourth-quarter comebacks to change into the newest unbeaten crew within the AFC.
Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins rallied towards the Buffalo Payments in Week 3 regardless of trailing within the fourth quarter. Tagovailoa led a fourth-quarter landing drive that created a lead which Buffalo could not overcome. And in Week 2, Miami beat the Baltimore Ravens after erasing a 21-point deficit in a historic comeback.
Towards the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dolphins could not make the comeback. They sustained their first loss, 27-15.
The distinction in Week 4? The Dolphins did not have Tua.
Tagovailoa suffered head and neck accidents whereas being sacked within the second quarter Thursday evening. The third-year quarterback was taken off the sector on a stretcher and dropped at the College of Cincinnati Medical Heart.
When the Dolphins wanted a game-winning drive from second-string quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the veteran threw an interception. The Dolphins have been trailing by simply 5 factors with three minutes left within the recreation. They have been on Cincinnati’s 26-yard line. And Bridgewater gave up the soccer.
The quarterback appeared to have a miscommunication with tight finish Mike Gesicki, who broke his route on the identical second Bridgewater launched the ball. Bridgewater threw the ball like he thought Gesicki was going to maintain operating. Vonn Bell intercepted the go, and his 36-yard return helped put Cincinnati in place for the game-clinching rating.
To be clear, Tua threw an interception on a deep ball earlier than exiting the sport with the damage. He wasn’t excellent.
And Bridgewater truly accomplished the longest go of the sport, a 64-yarder to Tyreek Hill. The backup quarterback completed with 193 yards, one landing and one interception in a little bit greater than two quarters of play. He was stable.
However he wasn’t the finisher Tua has been, with clutch landing drives when the crew wanted them most. In that state of affairs, Bridgewater threw the essential choose.
Tagovailoa left the sector on a stretcher and took an ambulance to a close-by hospital the place he was aware and had motion in all his extremities. The Dolphins anticipated him to get launched from the hospital to fly with the crew again to Miami, per a number of studies.
“That was a scary second. He was evaluated for a concussion and is in concussion protocol. … That was an emotional second,” Miami coach Mike McDaniel stated postgame.
Tagovailoa’s brutal damage was notably powerful to observe in mild of what occurred to him final week.
In Week 3, the Dolphins quarterback took a giant hit towards the Payments and landed on his again and head. He got here up shaking his head and stumbling, at occasions struggling to face and needing the assistance of his offensive linemen to remain upright. He left the sport to endure the NFL’s concussion verify, and he was not identified with a concussion. The crew as a substitute stated he had a again damage.
McDaniel confirmed once more Thursday evening that Tagovailoa handed the concussion verify in Week 3.
“In any other case, we might have reported him with a head damage,” McDaniel stated. “For me as a head coach right here, I am not going to fudge that kind of state of affairs.”
The NFLPA did not wait lengthy earlier than saying it might launch an investigation into Tagovailoa’s concussion verify in Week 3 to make sure the impartial physician, who carried out the examination, did so correctly. The Gamers Affiliation supplied an announcement after seeing Tagovailoa’s concussion in Week 4.
In the end, the Dolphins did not have their quarterback for the second half of the sport. In addition they did not have their prime cornerback, Xavien Howard. And people two accidents harm.
Howard left the sport within the third quarter with a thigh and groin damage. The star cornerback was clearly struggling and allowed a 59-yard landing to Tee Higgins. However his departure made issues worse.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow all of the sudden loved extra success throwing downfield and had a neater time attacking the backups, Kader Kohou, who allowed a 43-yard catch from Tyler Boyd, and Keion Crossen, who struggled to maintain tempo with this elite group of receivers.
The Dolphins’ passing offense could not match. Hill may need loved 10 catches for 160 yards and a landing however Jaylen Waddle had simply two catches for 39 yards. Miami’s offense has been reliant upon each gamers having fun with large video games with their run recreation struggling.
With out Miami’s central figures on each side of the ball in Howard and Tagovailoa, Miami could not muster the identical magic it managed within the first three weeks. And if Tagovailoa is compelled to overlook video games, the Dolphins may need to fret about how they may keep aggressive with out their quarterback.
Bridgewater’s shortcomings got here all the way down to only one throw. If he hadn’t thrown that interception, the sport may need ended in a different way. And if it was merely a miscommunication, then the Dolphins can be ok with fixing it — and making ready Bridgewater extra totally as a possible starter for Week 5.
Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years protecting the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Comply with him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.
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