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Tua Tagovailoa made the NFL debut with a Miami Dolphins blowout win



MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins crowd stood at its feet making more noise than any point in a 24-0 victory over the New York Jets as rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa walked into the field for his first action in the NFL.

Ryan Fitzpatrick waved his arms up and down in hopes of pumping up the crowd. The other teammates applauded and hugged the sideline in anticipation.

Almost a year since Tagovailoa suffered a potential hip injury that ended his career in Alabama on November 16, 2019, this is Tua Time.

In the final minutes of the game, Dolphins coach Brian Flores told Tagovailoa to warm up and with a little more than two minutes left, Tagovailoa entered the game, throwing away his first two NFL passes, both completed.

“Tua” chants rang out as he ran towards the farm.

“I knew there was excitement when he came in. I was happy for Tua,” Flores said.

Fitzpatrick added: “That was just a cool moment for him, just receiving from the crowd here and us on the sideline.”

Tagovailoa has also been the first left quarterback to complete a stint since Kellen Moore for the Dallas Cowboys on Week 17 of the 2015 season.

“Yeah, I can really hear it. There’s no one else playing in the stadium, so I can hear that,” Tagovailoa said. “And that was great. But to get there with my teammates I was the first and got support and love from them, I think very well. And then you have a 16 year old vet like by Fitz, who also hates it, who supports that whole time.Good driving, bad driving, he comes to the sideline and just talks in his process why he did certain things.I’m so lucky to have of a mentor like him that I just inspired in the field and then this person is just as very human as he is outside the farm. “

After the game, Tagovailoa returned to the farm, sitting in the middle of a 15-yard-line alone in full uniform for 10 minutes soaking in the moment.

He tried to find the place where his Dolphins drive ended and then FaceTimed his parents, who were not there to see him play. They watch almost every game and he wants to share the moment with her. He said the conversation was emotional especially since it was all he needed to get back into that field.

“The biggest thing that really stood out to me was that my parents were just so proud,” Tagovailoa said. “If it was Tua as a football player, Tua as a person, Tua as a son, I think that brings me the most joy is to see how happy I am with my parents and then see how happy I am with my family who I am and what I do. “

With Tagovailoa’s first pass coming to a bare bootleg in his own end zone, he threw a short pass at the two Jets defenders to run back Patrick Laird for a 2-yard completion. His second pass was also impressive, a 7-yard completion with receiver Jakeem Grant for the team’s third-down conversion in the game.

“Being naked in your own end zone was not the easiest play and he went in and completed one and then completed the third-down so I think it was a cool moment for him,” Fitzpatrick said. “Just a recipe too, of the fans who are here. And all on the sideline. We’re all excited for him to get out there.”

Tagovailoa declared he was healthy, and proved he could do the mobile plays that made him special in Alabama.

“It’s just a glimpse of what’s to come,” said Dolphins defender Christian Wilkins, who gave Tagovailoa a bear hug after the game.




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