Held Tua Tagovailoa inside because he played well

MIAMI – The home crowd at Hard Rock Stadium explained who they want to see on Thursday night, chanting the name of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after a third-down incompleteness from rookie Jacoby Brissett in the first half.

The Miami Dolphins had no plans to play Tagovailoa, choosing to seat him in favor of Brissett while Tagovailoa recovers after a broken middle finger on his throwing hand. But the crowd got their wish early in the third quarter.

Tagovailoa entered the game after Brissett came out with a knee injury, leading Miami to a 22-10 upset win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Although Tagovailoa was “much closer” to being physically ready to start than he was last week, when he didn’t play against the Houston Texans, Dolphins coach Brian Flores said the team was comfortable in Tagovailoa serving as the team’s backup.

Tagovailoa looked pretty good in his first series Thursday night when Flores said they finally decided to keep him in the game.

“[Brissett], I think it was probably okay to go back inside, but we just decided to stay with Tua, “Flores said.” He’ll hit a few passes, so we felt we could just as well leave him there. “

Tagovailoa went 8-of-13 for 158 yards in two quarters of work, adding a 1-yard quick touchdown. His performance did not go smoothly. Tagovailoa admitted to having trouble grabbing the ball, and Flores said it was difficult for Tagovailoa to move the ball down, although he completed a pass to Jaylen Waddle who traveled 34.5 yards, according to NFL NextGen Stats.

Tagovailoa also played through more pain than usual after hitting his injured finger during the game.

“It doesn’t feel right, I can tell you that,” he said. “I hit it a bit in the game, but we have 10 days to recover. So we’ll take all the time we can.”

In addition to not playing in last week’s win over the Texans, Tagovailoa previously missed three games during an injured backup after breaking his ribs in Week 2.

Flores said he knows how hard Tagovailoa is and was not surprised by his performance Thursday evening. But just 16 games into Tagovailoa’s NFL career, Flores has said at times that it’s his job to protect Tagovailoa from himself.

“So it really was when I also had my rib injury,” Tagovailoa said. “I wanted to play, but Flo got it [Dolphins head athletic trainer] Kyle [Johnston] and they made the decision to try to protect me from myself. It’s the same thing with my finger. … I would say I was ready, but that’s Flo’s decision. That is his call. You just have to support the next man. “

Brissett completed 11 of 23 passes for 156 yards before his injury.

The Dolphins have now won back-to-back games after losing seven straight. They are given 10 days to prepare for their first game of the season against the AFC East rival New York Jets in Week 11.

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