Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Denver Broncos. Coach Brian Flores said this was not injury related.
Flores made it clear there won’t be any changes in quarterback wholesale, meaning Tagovailoa will remain the Dolphins’ starter despite being used for his Sunday performance.
“Tua wasn’t injured. We just felt like it was the best move at the time. We had to switch to two-minute mode and we got that feeling.” [Fitzpatrick] gave us the best chance of winning the game and we had an opportunity to tie it in the end, “said Flores.
The dolphins were between 20 and 10 when Tagovailoa was sitting on a bench. Flores said the team needed a spark.
Tagovailoa had some rookie problems with pressure on Sunday, going 83 yards with an 11-of-20 pass and a low-impact touchdown that moved the ball. He was also not helped by his offensive line. He has been sacked six times – more than in four previous games (four).
“My thoughts were about what would be best for the team. When I was there, we couldn’t really get things going,” said Tagovailoa. “Coach said it would be best to use Fitz to give us a spark. When I heard that, it was really best for the team. If we won there with Fitz, the locker room would be different. Everyone would do it . ” be much happier. It just sucks to lose. “
The dolphins came alive when Fitzpatrick stepped in as he immediately spearheaded a field gate drive to bring the score down to 20-13 and showed his chemistry with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. He then came 15 yards from the end of a tie ride that began on his team’s 1-yard line after a fumble by Melvin Gordon.
Fitzpatrick’s fourth-quarter comeback attempt failed when he forced a pass to double cover. Bronco’s safety Justin Simmons intercepted him in the end zone and ended the game.
After the game, Fitzpatrick resumed his mentoring role at Tagovailoa, making it clear that there will be no future quarterback controversy.
“It’s very clear this is Tua’s team. Tua will keep getting better and growing,” said Fitzpatrick, who finished the 117-yard 12-of-18 pass and interception. “For me, my defined role is what the team needs from me. … There is no controversy. This is his team. He will lead this team and continue to lead the team. We just have to pull in the right direction and everyone to keep getting better. “
Tagovailoa stood on the sidelines wearing a headset and watched as Fitzpatrick attempted the comeback. Although he limped after Bronco’s full-back Bradley Chubb fired him and twisted his ankle, Tagovailoa didn’t cite an injury as a factor, and neither did the team.
Tagovailoa was put on the injury report this week for a foot injury, but he was a full participant in practice every day and had no injury label for Sunday’s game. Flores said the injury did not affect the decision to bench Tagovailoa.
The two quarterbacks could also be seen on the sidelines after benching. Tagovailoa said he learned how Fitzpatrick handled the pressure from the Broncos during the game.
Fitzpatrick said he spoke to Tagovailoa about benching on the sidelines and in the locker room, but he believes that is over now. Flores said he was not concerned that this bank would hurt Tagovailoa’s confidence as he returns to the starting grid.
“He’s a confident boy,” said Flores. “He’s faced a lot of adversity. I think he’s fine.”
Tagovailoa won its first three starts with good efficiency, supported by a strong defense and special team group. He faces his first true mishap of his NFL career when he reacts to sitting on a bench on Sunday.
“It was a great learning experience for me,” said Tagovailoa. “I felt like I was holding the ball a little too long. I just need to get to completion and get the ball into our boys’ hands to play for us.”
The Dolphins put Fitzpatrick on the bench after Week 7 after the veteran led Miami to a 3-3 start and appeared to be playing well. Flores cited Tagovailoa’s willingness and did what was best for the team.
Tagovailoa returns on the streets next Sunday against the 0-10 New York Jets, an ideal opponent to get the rookie back on track.