Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was benched mid-game for the second time this season during an unsteady performance against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The first time Dolphins coach Brian Flores benched Tagovailoa for performance reasons was during a Week 11 loss to the Denver Broncos. Tua was 11 for 20 for 83 yards and a touchdown before getting replaced with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter against the Raiders, the Dolphins were trailing 16-13. Flores was not satisfied with his rookie QB's play, benching Tagovailoa and replacing him with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick -- Miami's opening day starter -- under center.
Up to that point, Tagovailoa was 17 of 22 for 94 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He'd been sacked three times and rushed for 11 yards. Tagovailoa was efficient, but he could not move the ball down the field with a disappointing 4.3 yards per attempt.
The Dolphins' offense had three consecutive three-and-out drives as the Raiders' defense beat out the rookie-led offense. The Raiders seemed to have Miami's number.
In a desperate race for the playoffs, coach Flores decided he wouldn't take any chances. Even if they lost, they would still be in contention for the playoffs, but a win will give them a lead over the Baltimore Ravens.
Benching Tagovailoa resulted in a spontaneous win for the Dolphins against the Las Vegas Raiders, kicking the Raiders out of playoff contention.
Fitzpatrick connected with wide receiver Mack Hollins on a 34-yard completion with 12 seconds left in the game.
Hollins managed the play while getting his facemask wrenched, a penalty that nudged the Dolphins into field goal range.
Jason Sanders gave a 44-yard kick allowing Miami to win 26-25 ultimately.
Fitzpatrick swiftly made an impact for Miami on an 84-yard drive that ended a game-tying field goal with over 4 minutes to play. He finished with a 9-for-13 for 182 yards and a 59-yard touchdown pass to running back Myles Gaskin, sealing the win with an inexplicable downfield shot with 19 seconds left to set up the winning field goal.
Fitzpatrick completed five of six passes for 73 yards, including a 31-yard pass to tight end Mike Gesicki down to the Raiders 4 yard line -- the most extended play of the game.
Tua is expected to play in Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills. He has completed 65.1 percent of his pass attempts for 1,453 yards, 10 touchdowns, and two interceptions.Published 28 Dec 2020, 03:00 IST