Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not play against the New England Patriots on Sunday after being placed in the NFL's concussion protocol.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said Wednesday that veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater will start in Tagovailoa's place, and he added that Tua should "worry about his health first."
McDaniel said Tagovailoa was placed in the league's concussion protocol for the second time this season following Miami's Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He had played the entire game and had one of his worst performances of the season, throwing three interceptions in the fourth quarter. McDaniel said he was unsure on which play Tagovailoa suffered the concussion.
The 24-year-old was first placed in concussion protocol after he endured a scary hit that caused his head to hit the turf in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football. He was briefly hospitalized and had to miss the next two games.
Just four days before the Bengals game, Tagovailoa also went down hard against the Buffalo Bills and appeared to show concussion symptoms, but he stayed in the game after being evaluated. The handling of Tagovailoa's situation prompted the NFL to change its concussion protocol in an attempt to better spot players who exhibit symptoms and sit them for the remainder of games.
When healthy, Tagovailoa has enjoyed a productive season. The third-year signal-caller has recorded career-highs of 3,548 passing yards and 25 touchdowns in his 13 appearances this year.
Thanks largely to the play of Tagovailoa, the Dolphins were one of the NFL's top teams through 11 games with an 8-3 record, but they have since dropped four games in a row, putting them at 8-7.
Miami is clinging to the final wild-card spot in the AFC and have a crucial game against the 7-8 Pats on Sunday.
Bridgewater lost his only start this season, but is 33-31 in 64 career starts and has arguably the top receiver tandem in the NFL to throw to in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.