Tua Tagovailoa’s second-half return from a head injury helped spark the Miami Dolphins’ 21-19 win against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but the NFL Players’ Association is worried it might have been too good to be true.
The Players’ Association wants the NFL to investigate the Dolphins’ handling of Tagovailoa’s concussion check, according to multiple reports.
Tagovailoa, who finished 13 of 18 for 186 yards and a touchdown, said the injury was actually mostly a back injury, although he did get tested for a concussion after leaving the game late in the second quarter.
“My back kind of locked up on me, but for the most part I’m good,” the quarterback said. “I passed whatever concussion protocol they had.”
Tagovailoa exited the game with 2:28 left in the second quarter after his head hit the ground on a roughing the passer by Bills linebacker Matt Milano. Tagovailoa stumbled as he tried to walk back to the huddle, prompting trainers to take him back into the locker room at Hard Rock Stadium.
A few minutes later, the Dolphins announced Tagovailoa was being evaluated for a head injury and was questionable to return.
Tagovailoa, however, said the back was the bigger problem and his alarming stumble happened because it “locked up.”
He first tweaked the back, he said, on a sneak in the first quarter.
“I kind of got my legs caught under someone and then they were trying to push,” he said, “and then I kind of felt like I hyperextended my back or something.”
Tagovailoa stayed in, though, until Milano slammed him to the ground at the end of an 8-yard pass in the second quarter.
Ultimately, he only missed three plays. Fellow quarterback Teddy Bridgewater finished the drive — Miami’s last one of the half — and Tagovailoa was back under center to start the third quarter.
Tagovailoa was one of three Dolphins to return to the game Sunday in Miami Gardens after previously being downgraded to questionable. Star cornerback Xavien Howard finished the game after briefly leaving with cramps in the third quarter, as did tackle Greg Little, who also left the game in the third quarter with a hand injury.