Tagovailoa out again with Dolphins’ playoff hopes teetering

Dec 26, 2022, 3:23 AM | Updated: Dec 27, 2022, 7:48 am
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) handsoff the ball to Miami Dolphins running back Jeff...

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) handsoff the ball to Miami Dolphins running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (23), who goes on to score a touchdown, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Rhona Wise)

(AP Photo/Rhona Wise)

MIAMI GRDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa is in the concussion protocol again, and the Miami Dolphins may not be able to weather his absence this time.

Tagovailoa missed two games earlier this season after he was knocked out on a scary hit in Week 4 at Cincinnati. Miami lost that game and two that Tagovailoa missed. Then he came back and Miami won five straight, improving to 8-3 and moving into first place in the AFC East.

The Dolphins (8-7) haven’t won since, and it’s not clear when they’ll see Tagovailoa on the field again.

Tagovailoa’s head hit the turf when he was tackled in the second quarter of Miami’s 26-20 loss to visiting Green Bay on Sunday, but was not taken out of the game or evaluated for a concussion. Miami coach Mike McDaniel said he doesn’t know for sure if Tagovailoa was concussed on the play.

“As far as the game was concerned, no one recognized anything with regard to any sort of hit,” McDaniel said.

Teddy Bridgewater will practice as the starter this week in case Tagovailoa isn’t cleared in time for Sunday’s division game at New England. McDaniel declined to name a starter.

“It’s too soon to really tell,” McDaniel said. “You just know that someone goes into the protocol and you have to be ready to really do whatever with that.”

Last season, with a miraculous turnaround and a little good fortune, the Dolphins entered their Week 17 game against Tennessee on a seven-game winning streak, holding the last AFC playoff spot despite a disastrous 1-7 start to the season. Then the Titans beat them 34-3, dismantling their playoff hopes.

This year, the Dolphins started impressively but find themselves in a similarly precarious situation. Miami was undefeated in November but winless in December, including its Christmas Day collapse against Green Bay. The Dolphins again have a precarious hold on the final AFC wild-card spot.

“We’ve been learning hard lessons for the last month of games,” McDaniel said, “and at some point, if we want to make the next step, we’re going to have to put up or shut up.”

The Dolphins are assured of making the playoffs if they win their final two games against the Patriots and Jets, but they have other paths.

They can make the postseason with a win at New England and a Jets loss against Seattle in Week 17. If Miami beats New England and the Jets beat the Seahawks, the division rivals will face each other with a playoff spot on the line.

If the Dolphins lose to the Patriots but beat the Jets, they would need New England to lose its regular-season finale against Buffalo.


Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill continue to make game-changing plays. Both had more than 100 yards receiving Sunday. Waddle had a career-long 84-yard touchdown in the first half and an athletic catch in the fourth quarter where he high-pointed the ball for a 16-yard gain. Hill’s four receptions gave him 113 on the season, breaking Miami’s single-season record.


The Dolphins did not have an answer for Green Bay’s second-half adjustments on defense. After going 9-for-12 with 229 yards and a TD in the first half, Tagovailoa was held to seven completions on 13 attempts for 84 yards in the second half. Hill caught just one pass for 20 yards in the second half. It’s not clear whether the hit Tagovailoa took in the second quarter affected his play.


DT Christian Wilkins had five tackles and two passes defensed. His 86 tackles leads all NFL defensive linemen.


Miami hasn’t been able to sustain drives during its four-game skid. On Sunday, its momentum was stalled by penalties.

“There was some uncharacteristic really, really controllable penalties that were absolutely devastating,” McDaniel said. “It’s hard to continually move the ball.”


Tagovailoa’s would have to advance through the NFL’s five-step process to be cleared to exit the concussion protocol and play next week. … LB Bradley Chubb suffered a hand injury, and FB Alec Ingold injured his thumb. Both players will wear casts, McDaniel said.


65 — The Dolphins have a 65% chance to make the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. That’s down from 72% last week.


A New Year’s Day visit to New England. The Dolphins beat the Patriots in their season opener.


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Texas interim coach Rodney Terry signals to players during the first half of the team's NCAA colleg...
Associated Press

Rodney Terry constantly auditioning as Texas interim coach

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Every game the Texas Longhorns play feels like an audition for interim coach Rodney Terry. At some point, the school must decide if he deserves a callback. What would that take? A Big 12 championship? A deep run into the NCAA Tournament? Texas hasn’t won the league’s regular-season title or made […]
1 day ago
FILE - Carolina Panthers' Steve Wilks warms up wearing a T-shirt in support of Buffalo Bills player...
Associated Press

Wilks ‘disappointed, not defeated’ over Panthers snub

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Former Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks is “disappointed, but not defeated” that he didn’t land the team’s full-time head coaching position. The Panthers announced on Thursday they’ve agreed to hire Frank Reich as their new head coach. “The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so […]
1 day ago
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Ja...
Associated Press

4 of NFL’s best TEs on display in conference title games

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — When Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes headed up the tunnel inside Arrowhead Stadium to have X-rays taken on his sprained right ankle, and Chad Henne trotted onto the field in the second quarter of their divisional playoff game against Jacksonville, it was obvious who the backup quarterback was going to target. […]
1 day ago
Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson (11) shoots under pressure from Kansas forward K.J. Adams Jr....
Associated Press

Keyontae Johnson at No. 5 K-State to face ex-Gator teammates

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — There are still a handful of players left at Florida who remember the exact moment, during a timeout against rival Florida State more than two years ago, that Keyontae Johnson collapsed to the floor and time seemed to stand still. Johnson was loaded onto a stretcher, taken to the hospital and […]
1 day ago
FILE - Ireland head coach Andy Farrell watches his players warm-up ahead of the rugby international...
Associated Press

6 Nations: France, Ireland set for duel under Netflix glare

Rugby’s oldest championship is getting a modern twist with the Netflix streaming service being given a behind-the-scenes look at the 2023 Six Nations for a docuseries released next year. It should help to broaden the sport’s appeal, driving more interest in the United States especially ahead of the country hosting a Rugby World Cup for […]
1 day ago
FILE - Oklahoma City Thunder's Chet Holmgren (7) drives against Houston Rockets' Jabari Smith II du...
Associated Press

Analysis: It may be time to re-think NBA All-Star voting

It’s reasonable to think Chet Holmgren will be an NBA All-Star one day. He was a highly recruited high school player whose one year at Gonzaga was stellar enough for Oklahoma City to make him the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft. He’s an obvious talent, an enormous talent. And it’s terrible that Holmgren […]
1 day ago
Tagovailoa out again with Dolphins’ playoff hopes teetering