Tua Tagovailoa entered Saturday night's critical contest against the Las Vegas Raiders with a chance to prove himself as the Miami Dolphins' unquestioned quarterback amid a playoff push. Instead, he lasted just over three quarters, producing just 94 passing yards on 22 throws before coach Brian Flores benched the first-round draft pick for veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick's return to the lineup had an instant impact on Miami's offensive production, with the Dolphins tying the game after several downfield shots from the 38-year-old gunslinger, then taking a lead with just over two minutes to play thanks to a 59-yard touchdown pass to Myles Gaskin, and then sealing the victory with an inexplicable downfield shot with 19 seconds left to set up the deciding field goal. Fitzpatrick was Fitzmagic indeed.
For now, however, the job is still Tagovailoa's. That's what Flores told reporters after Saturday's big win.
Brian Flores on Dolphins starting QB next week: “Tua is the starter.”— Will Manso (@WillManso) December 27, 2020
Tagovailoa was efficient passing the ball, completing 17 of 22 throws against the Raiders; he simply could not move the ball down the field, averaging just 4.3 yards per attempt. The rookie was also sacked three times.
In Week 17, he'll be up against the rival Buffalo Bills to close the 2020 regular season.