Dolphins Bench Struggling QB Tua Tagovailoa, Will Still Remain Miami Starter
Instead of allowing Tagovailoa to finish the game out, he was suddenly benched in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick came into the game for a chance to help spark the Dolphin’s offense that was struggling. Tagovailoa was having a solid performance as he recorded 11 of 18 passes for 83 yards and one touchdown. However, the Dolphins were struggling offensively as Tagovailoa could not lead them over the Broncos. The rookie quarterback only managed to throw for 83 yards on 11 passes. Not only that, but he was sacked six times.
Coach Brian Flores later affirmed this decision. “We just felt it was the best move at that point in the game,” he said. “We felt he gave us the best chance to win the game.”
When Fitzpatrick came in, Miami was trailing Denver 20-10. Fitzpatrick was able to provide a spark as he managed to get a field goal and reach a scoring position to win the game. With just two minutes left and Fitzpatrick at the helm with a chance to win the game, he threw the game-tying touchdown pass for DeVante Parker. However, Denver’s defense came up big as their safety Justin Simmons intercepted the pass in the end zone.
Despite the benching, it is clear that Tagovailoa is still the starting quarterback for the team. Fitzpatrick confirmed as much. “It’s very clear this is Tua’s team,” he said. “Tua is going to continue to get better and grow.”
The veteran quarterback later said, “There is no controversy. It’s his team and he’s going to continue to lead the team. We just have to all pull in the right direction.”
There are no hard feelings from Tagovailoa. “Whatever is best for the team,” Tagovailoa said. “When we were in we couldn’t really get things going. Coach felt it was the best decision to put Fitz in and give us a spark. It’s what’s best for the team. If we were to win with Fitz in there the locker room would be a lot different and everyone would be a lot happier. It just sucks to lose.”
The loss is just a learning process for the young rookie quarterback. Tagovailoa is just only 22 years old in his first year playing in the NFL. Fitzpatrick, who has 16 seasons of experience, said that he is willing to help the young rookie learn. “They were getting pressure up front, so what are some things I can do as a quarterback to combat that?” Fitzpatrick said. “As we go forward, he’ll be able to lean on that. I learned those things in 16 years, but I want to help him accelerate the learning and make sure he learns it faster than I did.”