NFL Thursday Night Football: Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa is sent off with neck and head injuries against the Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered neck and head injuries after being knocked to the ground and carried off the field against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

The dolphins said Tagovailoa is conscious, has movement in all extremities and has been taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further evaluation. The Dolphins said after their 27-15 loss to the Bengals that Tagovailoa is expected to be discharged from the hospital and flown home with the team.

Tagovailoa was being chased and fired by 6-foot-3, 340-pound Josh Tupou about six minutes from time in the first half. He was thrown around and thrown onto the lawn. As he lay on the ground, his hands froze in front of his face. He remained lying for more than seven minutes before being loaded onto a backboard, stabilized and strapped to a stretcher after his face mask was removed.

Dolphins players gathered as Tagovailoa was rolled off the field and the crowd shouted “Tua! Tua!” Tua!” sang.

Miami coach Mike McDaniel said Tagovailoa called out to him as he went down.

“I could tell it wasn’t the same guy that I was used to seeing,” McDaniel said. “It was a scary moment. He was checked for a concussion. He’s on concussion protocol, but he’s getting fired.

“It’s an emotional moment. It’s not part of the deal you’re signing up for. His teammates and I were very worried but he was checked and it’s nothing more serious than a concussion.”

Teddy Bridgewater, who replaced the injured Tagovailoa, said the Miami touchline went quiet when the starting QB was on the turf.

“Complete silence,” Bridgewater said. “He’s one of us. At the end of the day, it’s just a football game. In that moment you saw how we feel about Tua. He’s our captain. He’s our leader. It was great to see the doctors with circumvented the situation.”

Bengals coach Zac Taylor had an emotional reaction to Tagovailoa’s fall, saying: “It’s a tough moment. They hate to see it. It’s a tough moment for everyone.”

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was hoping for a quick return from Tagovailoa.

“It’s always scary when someone goes out like that,” Burrow said. “It’s a dangerous game and something like this can happen at any time, but it’s always scary when it happens. … Hopefully he has a speedy recovery. I’ll text him after a while and see how he’s doing.”

The reaction came quickly from across the NFL. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Broncos QB Russell Wilson promptly tweeted concern for Tagovailoa’s well-being.

“I’m praying for you Tua,” Wilson wrote.

Tagovailoa, 24, suffered from back pain and was ruled questionable for most of the week leading up to the game.

Tagovailoa briefly left Sunday’s 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills after appearing disoriented after the team originally said it was a head injury after suffering a hard punch from Bills linebacker Matt Milano late in the first half would have. He missed just three snaps and returned after halftime, a decision that prompted a joint review by the NFL and the National Football League Players Association, which factored into the decision to allow him to return to the game.

The team and Tagovailoa announced after Sunday’s game that the quarterback suffered a back injury that led to his awkward trip and fall after being thrown onto the turf in the second quarter. The team said Monday that Tagovailoa was not on the concussion record.

He said he “hyperextended” his back after his legs got caught under someone on a quarterback sneak.

McDaniel said Thursday that he doesn’t think an injury from last week caused him to fall in the same way this week.

Following Thursday’s injury to Tagovailoa, the NFLPA tweeted, “Player health and safety is central to the union’s mission. Our concern tonight is with Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the possible breach of protocol is ongoing.”

Some criticized the decision to play Tagovailoa so soon after his injuries in Sunday’s game.

Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe tweeted: “This is a serious injury. Tua shouldn’t have been out there on Sunday and Thursday. Sometimes players need to be protected from themselves. Dolphins have failed Tua.”

Before leaving Thursday’s game, Tagovailoa was 8 for 14 for 100 yards and one interception. Bridgewater threw a touchdown pass to Chase Edmonds with 15 seconds remaining.

Tagovailoa, who won a national championship in Alabama, played the key to the Dolphins’ 3-0 lead. He came into play second in the NFL with 925 passing yards.

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Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/miami-dolphins-quarterback-tua-tagovailoa-thursday-night-football-cincinnati-bengals-josh-tupou/12281448/ NFL Thursday Night Football: Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa is sent off with neck and head injuries against the Cincinnati Bengals

Laura Coffey

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