It leaned in that direction as the short week progressed for the Miami Dolphins. And it actually happened.
Tagovailoa, who was officially listed as doubtful for Miami coming in for Game Night in Cincinnati on Thursday, started against the Bengals. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and left tackle Terron Armstead also played.
Tagovailoa was recovering from back and ankle injuries in the three days between Sunday’s 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills and Thursday as Dolphins players rested on Monday and held Miami tours Tuesday and Wednesday in Cincinnati.
A head injury was originally thought to be the problem on Sunday for Tagovailoa after being passed over on a late hit by Bills linebacker Matt Milano in the second quarter. Hitting the back of his head on the turf in a whiplash effect, Tagovailoa stumbled after getting up.
He was escorted to the locker room after being checked on the pitch, and Tagovailoa returned for the second half after clearing concussion protocol. Finishing 13 of 18 for 186 yards and a touchdown in the win, Tagovailoa and coach Mike McDaniel said it wasn’t a head injury, as the team initially claimed during the game, but actually from a back injury that originated on a previous quarterback. was exacerbated by Milano’s push which landed Tagovailoa on his back. The ankle aspect of Tagovailoa’s injury was learned on Monday, but Tagovailoa said on Tuesday his back remained the biggest problem.
Tagovailoa said how he feels behind his back affects every twist he has to make to function as a quarterback, whether it’s transfers, throws or forward passes.
Nonetheless, Tagovailoa replied “that’s the plan”, when asked on Tuesday if he plans to play. McDaniel expressed similar optimism following conversations he had with the quarterback.
With Tagovailoa playing, he had to face Bengals signalman Joe Burrow. The two third-year quarterbacks would face off for the first time in the NFL and since their epic college clash between Alabama and LSU in 2019. Burrow was injured when the Bengals and Dolphins met in their season rookie in 2020.
Armstead started again while nursing a toe injury sustained in the season opener against the New England Patriots. Waddle appeared on the injury report for the short week, dealing with a groin injury.
Of the other Miami players entering the prime-time game with questionable designations, the status of cornerback Xavien Howard due to groin and gluteal soreness was paramount. The Dolphins also had safety Brandon Jones (chest) and defensive tackle Raekwon Davis (knee) as questionable. Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (ill) was added to the injury report Thursday morning.
Thompson active for the first time; Wilson out
Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson, Kansas State’s seventh-round rookie pick, was active in Cincinnati, the first time he was active all season.
Thompson was likely active because Tagovailoa was on the injury report this week for back and ankle injuries. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater briefly played in place of Tagovailoa against the Bills, but it was unclear who would have served as Bridgewater’s backup if he needed to play Thursday.
The Dolphins’ inactive players were running back Myles Gaskin, wide receivers Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Erik Ezukanma, tight ends Cethan Carter and Hunter Long, and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene.
Ezukanma was the only player to be inactive for all four games. Igbinoghene, the former first-round pick, was inactive two of four games.
Carter was out of action for three games, mostly due to a concussion protocol after the opener against New England.
It was the third game Gaskin had been inactive. Gaskin led the team on the ground last season with 612 yards.
Cincinnati’s inactive players were running back Trayveon Williams, offensive tackle D’Ante Smith, guard Jackson Carman and tight end Drew Sample.
Crafting to the active list
Miami added wide receiver River Cracraft from the practice squad to its active roster Thursday afternoon.
The Dolphins used their allotment of three practice squad lifts on Cracraft in the first three weeks of the regular season. That’s the maximum allowed by 2022 NFL rules before a team must put a player on the active roster if they want to bring them in for a fourth game.
If the Dolphins want Cracraft back on the practice squad later, they’ll have to release him and then re-sign him. Between the two trades, however, he would be eligible to be claimed waivers by other NFL teams.
Miami didn’t have to make a corresponding move after signing Cracraft as he had an open spot on the active roster, starting the day at 52 instead of the maximum 53. The Dolphins, however, will need a spot. when cornerback Byron Jones returns. the roster physically unable to perform and offensive lineman Austin Jackson returns from injured reserve.
Ingram named Defensive Player of the Month
Dolphins linebacker Melvin Ingram has been named Defensive Player of the Month for September. Ingram, 33, had seven tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, one pass defended, one fumble recovery (returned for a touchdown) and two forced fumbles heading into Thursday’s game.
Ingram is the only player in the league with two sacks and a defensive touchdown. He won the award in September 2017 when he was with the Chargers. Ingram is the first Dolphins player to win the award since linebacker Jerome Baker in December 2021. Ingram had the tackle to keep the Buffalo wide receiver in bounds in the game-winning endgame.
Thursday games are a tough turnaround. Preparation is vital, and for most players it started Sunday night after the Bills game.
“I immediately entered the ice bath and the hot tub,” security Jevon Holland said. “I went straight there. »
Running back Raheem Mostert was among those who began preparations on Sunday night.
“We have to take care of our bodies,” he said. “They opened up the facility right after the game so we could come in here and do what we needed to do to get ready for Thursday.”
Safety Brandon Jones said playing at night helps a bit.
“It gives us a full day to do a bit more recovery,” he said. “The mental side of the game, it kind of grows from there. But it sure is fast. But those Thursday games, in my experience, it’s been two years, are really fun.
Don’t believe the hype
The Dolphins, which entered Thursday as one of two undefeated NFL teams along with Philadelphia (3-0), increased their power ratings and became a national hot topic. Coach McDaniel told his players to beware of gossip and not get drawn into storytelling, good or bad.
“We try to win football games, and more importantly in the process we try to improve every week, so we play our best football at the end of the season because that’s where you’re really judged. “, he said.
“So none of the power rankings or the hype comes into that. For me, I try to meet the needs of all the attention-loving guys and let them know that “Hey, if you still want that attention, keep winning.” “…
–NFL safety is reviewing the Dolphins’ Wednesday walkthrough at the University of Cincinnati filmed by an outside observer, according to a league source. The Dolphins moved their Wednesday session to Cincinnati, adjusting to an earlier flight time due to Hurricane Ian, and practiced at the Bearcats football field, Nippert Stadium. Several parts of the walkthrough were filmed from the top of the stadium and posted to social media on Wednesday.