Brian Flores pulled Tua Tagovailoa late in the game for Ryan Fitzpatrick but there is no controversy.
Tua Tagovailoa got his first professional loss on Sunday and to add a little extra whip cream to the pie thrown his face, Flores benched him late in the game.
There are moments in an NFL career that stand out and maybe when all is said and done, this was a moment that will resonate with him. Getting benched as a starter is not something any player wants to endure, especially a quarterback. On Sunday, Tua got to feel that but if you think he is going to cry about it, you would be wrong.
We all know the setup to him being pulled. At first, it appeared that he may have injured his ankle on one of the many sacks he took on Sunday but instead, Brian Flores pulled him for Ryan Fitzpatrick. With the game on the line, the Dolphins with the ball, and needing a touchdown, Flores turned to the veteran instead of the struggling rookie.
Fitzpatrick responded on the field like you would expect a 16-year veteran to respond but he reminded us late in the drive why he isn’t the quarterback starting for the Dolphins anymore. On the sidelines, Tua watched but it was after the game that the press got a chance to talk to him.
Tua simply said that he understood why he was being pulled and whatever was best for the team. In other words, he handled it as a professional.
"“My thoughts were whatever was going to be best for the team. When I was in, we couldn’t really get things going and Coach felt like it was the best decision to put ‘Fitz’ (QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) in to give us a spark. When I heard that–it’s really 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.” – Post game interview via the Miami Dolphins."
Today will start the process of learning for Tua. He will pour over game film and try to figure out what the Broncos threw at him and where to
improve his game. He loves looking at film so this shouldn’t be a problem. Then, he will reset on Tuesday and start prepping for the Jets next weekend.
Brian Flores was of course asked if there would be a quarterback change, he simply responded with “no change”. That is the way it should be. Flores isn’t afraid to change things up when they are not working and you have to wonder if pulling Tua a bit earlier might have made a difference. Probably not.
Sunday’s game probably did far more good for Tua Tagovailoa than it did badly for the Dolphins record. He needed to have this kind of game and he needed to take these hits so that he realizes he won’t break and that the game is different. He showed his professionalism on the sideline and after the game. He wasn’t thrilled that he was taken out but the fact that he puts his team first, well that’s important.