Miami Dolphins finally decided to let their rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa experience a thrill of an NFL game. Tagovailoa made his pro debut on Sunday, entering the final minutes of a shutout win against the New York Jets.
Two other QBs picked in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft, Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow and LA Chargers’ Justin Herbert, saw their fair share of NFL action, but Tagovailoa sat on the bench for the previous five weeks. This resulted from the Dolphins’ cautious approach with the Alabama product, as the 22-year-old is coming off hip surgery.
But, with Week 6 game against the Jets being long in the bag, Miami finally decided to give their fans a taste of what’s to come in the future. Tagovailoa entered the contest for Ryan Fitzpatrick just before the 2-minute warning, with Dolphins having a 24-0 lead, and took his first snaps in NFL. He attempted two passes and completed both of them before the clock ran down.
“To just be out there with my teammates, being my first time, and getting the support and love from them, I think that was super awesome,” said Tagovailoa. “And then you have a 16-year vet like Fitz, who has no animosity toward it, as well, who’s just been supportive that entire time. I’m very fortunate to have a mentor like him who is just very encouraging on the field, and then this guy is, like, he’s just very personable off the field, as well.”
Since the season started, Miami’s head coach Brian Flores has been swarmed with questions about why Tua Tagovailoa isn’t getting a shot, especially blowout wins or losses. Flores insisted that the decision was made because of Tagovaila’s health and that there would be no point in throwing the rookie into the fire without a good reason.
But on Sunday night, Flores changed his mind it appears that he didn’t regret the decision.
“I know there was some excitement when he went in. I’m happy for Tua,” said Flores.
Tagovailoa played three years of college football at Alabama, throwing for 7,442 yards and 87 touchdowns in 32 games. After his junior season, he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft where Dolphins selected him with the No.5 overall pick.