MIAMI GARDENS — Tua Tagovailoa dropped his shoulders and his helmet and slammed into a human wall of Pittsburgh Steelers defenders.
For most quarterbacks, this is not recommended. But we move on, eliminate him as a player just trying to gain some extra ground for his team.
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For Tua, the game’s most scrutinized player for traumatic brain injury and the player who was solely responsible for the league’s tightening of concussion protocols, it first makes you cringe and then wonder why.
Here’s why :
“He immediately after the first time (said) ‘Coach, I’m sorry. I needed that,'” Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Sunday after the Dolphins’ 16-10 win over the Steelers. .
“I was like, ‘Okay.’ “
But that doesn’t mean McDaniel didn’t wince, just a little, and pay close attention to his quarterback as he got back to his feet.
“He’s got that component of his game where he’s a competitor and he’s trying to get a first down for his team,” McDaniel said. “I’m never going to totally encourage that, at all. I’m probably going to advise him to slide every time.
“When things get hectic and the guy has the ball in his hands, it’s going to be difficult to get him all the way down, although I’ll try.”
Said Tua: “I wasn’t trying to be Superman or a superhero. I was just looking at the situation…I can see the first try. For me, they were close, ‘OK maybe if I just put my shoulder I hope I can progress with that.”
All is well again for the Dolphins. Miami ended a three-game losing streak with the win and Tagovailoa started what he finished, which is not to be dismissed with this team.
Tagovailoa did something no Dolphins quarterback had done since the second week of the season: He played the entire game.
“He’s smiling,” security Jevon Holland said. “It was great to see him do his thing.”
Tagovailoa had missed the last two games due to concussion protocol
Tagovailoa returned after missing more than 2½ games with a concussion and a streak against Buffalo after taking a heavy knock late in the first half.
Considering the time lost, throwing for 111 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter was impressive. What came after, not so much.
But first the good.
Tagovailoa gave the Dolphins a strong start, scoring in their first three series to take a 13-0 lead.
“Not being able to play two games affects my performance in such a way that I haven’t seen full-speed reps in practice where guys come and hit me,” Tagovailoa said. “There are some things you just have to see when you play the game, get some practice looks.”
It hasn’t been lost on McDaniel as it’s not just the time lost in the game since Tua was taken to hospital after suffering a concussion in the first half of the loss to Cincinnati on September 29. This is the time missed between games.
Because the injury happened during a Thursday night game and the team never really runs at full throttle for a short week, Tagovailoa’s last full-speed training before last week was on the 22nd. september. A full month.
“It’s to his credit,” McDaniel said. “If he wasn’t so prepared and put himself in the position to play quarterback when he was out, he couldn’t have been so successful.”
The Steelers dropped four of Tua’s assists
But this early success was not sustainable. Tua finished 21 of 35 for 261 yards. He didn’t throw an interception, but that’s only because the Steelers treated the ball like it was drenched in sunscreen.
Pittsburgh dropped four passes that could easily have been intercepted.
“Errors with ball placement, communications,” Tua said. “Just misunderstandings on our part with it. We just couldn’t find our groove.”
McDaniel thought Tagovailoa was getting frustrated. The Dolphins scored a touchdown and two field goals before the Steelers recorded a first down. And that touchdown in the first series was Miami’s last in the game. All he could handle the last three quarters was a Jason Sanders third field goal.
Luckily for Miami, the Steelers’ seven possessions in the second half ended in five punts and two interceptions.
“There were things, especially in the second half, that frustrated him to some degree,” McDaniel said. “But he did everything to win the game.
“And that’s all that matters.”
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