Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick under center in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Broncos.
It was not immediately clear why Miami coach Brian Flores pulled the 2020 first-round pick, but Tagovailoa did appear to land awkwardly during a takedown earlier in the quarter. He had been sacked six times before his departure, which occured with the Dolphins trailing 20-10.
Tagovailoa completed 11 of 20 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game.
Tagovailoa was named the starter in Week 8 and carried a 3-0 record entering his matchup with Denver. He carried a foot injury through practice this past week and did not look particularly sharp through three quarters, finishing his outing with just 83 passing yards.
UPDATE: Flores said the decision wasn’t injury related. Tagovailoa will start next week, though.
Brian Flores says Tua was NOT injured when he was taken out. Says Fitz gave team best chance to win the game.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) November 23, 2020
Brian Flores said that, after being benched today for performance, Tua will get his job back next week.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 23, 2020
Tagovailoa is one of three rookie quarterbacks to impress this season. Fellow first-round selections Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have also been excellent, suggesting the 2020 class will be memorable for its arm talent. Burrow suffered a torn ACL earlier Sunday, however, and will miss the remainder of the campaign.
Tagovailoa has thrown six touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first NFL season.
Fitzpatrick’s attempt to lead a comeback Sunday fell short when he threw a red zone interception with just over one minute remaining in the contest.