Tua Tagovailoa ruled out for wild card game against the Bills

Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins will not play against the Bills
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) aims a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin)

One big question has been answered going into NFL Wild Card Weekend, as the Miami Dolphins have ruled out Tua Tagovailoa due to a concussion sustained three weeks ago. 

With backup Teddy Bridgewater still battling a pinky finger injury, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said rookie Skylar Thompson is in line to start for Miami on the road in Buffalo on Sunday. 

It’s a big loss for Miami as Tagovailoa had an excellent third season when he was on the field in 2022. In his 13 games, he threw for 3,548 yards with 25 touchdowns, and eight interceptions while completing 64.8% of his passes. It was an important step forward for the young quarterback after being criticized earlier in his career. 

However, injury concerns have been part of the discussion around Tua since a dislocated hip ended his college career. Unfortunately, those conversations got louder after the young signal-caller suffered three suspected concussions this season and was put into concussion protocol twice.

The first suspected concussion for Tua occurred in Week 3 against the Bills when he was pushed to the turf by Matt Milano while throwing a pass. Tua got up and shook his head a few times and then was taken out of the game. However, after halftime, the Dolphins had Tua back on the field, reporting that he was removed earlier because of a back injury. 

The story was loudly criticized as many people dove into the replays to show that the quarterback held his held numerous times but never once grabbed for his back. He also wasn’t placed in the concussion protocol after the game, but, unfortunately, he suffered another big hit just four days later against the Bengals and was carted off the field.

The team’s treatment of his concussions became a major talking point around the league and the independent neurotrauma consultant involved in the decision to allow Tagovailoa to play was fired as a result.

The controversy continued when Tagovailoa was placed in the concussion protocol for the second time after suffering a concussion in the December 26th game against the Packers. However, he played the entire game and wasn’t placed in the protocol until the Monday after which raised even more questions about the team’s handling of the young quarterback since Tua actually reported memory loss issues after that Green Bay game

While Tua’s concussion issues have called into question the NFL’s process for identifying head injuries, it has also called into question the long-term future of a promising young player. 

For now, he will remain on the sideline and hope that his team can advance to see if another week will allow him to recover properly and return to the field. If not, he will have an entire offseason to recuperate and hope for a healthy return in the 2023-24 season. 

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Tua Tagovailoa will not play against the Bills
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) sets up to pass during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 in Orchard Park, N.Y. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)