By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Tagovailoa entered the contest with less than three minutes left with a 24-0 lead. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft despite having a serious hip injury late during the 2019 season.
Once in, he handed the ball off on the first play after replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick, who even supported his teammate by getting the limited fans in attendance to make it loud. The second play, Tagovailoa then rolled out to the left side and hit Patrick Laird for a minimal gain.
Then, on the third play, Tagovailoa hit Jakeem Grant for a seven-yard gain. This gave the Dolphins their final first down.
“I feel healthy. I think it was a great play call by (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) to kind of get things going for me,” Tagovailoa said. “It was an easy completion, and everyone can say that; I can roll out and throw it to someone who’s 2 yards down the field. But you’ve got to deal with pressure, and there’s just a lot going on in such a little play like that. But I think a lot of credit with that easy completion goes to Chan and then also goes to our o-line. Our o-line played their butts off today.”
After Grant’s first down, Tagovailoa handed the ball off for the final two plays of the game. He went 2 of 2 for nine yards.
“It was just excitement to get out there and see what plays [offensive coordinator] Chan [Gailey] would give me,” Tagovailoa said of his cameo.
According to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, Tagovailoa went back onto the field after the game. He sat on the 15-yard line in full uniform.
Wolfe reported that Tagovailoa was soaking in the moment. Nearly one year ago on November 16, 2019, he could have potentially had a career-ending injury against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
“I think it was a very special moment for me because my parents weren’t here, so I couldn’t really remember where we ended our drive at, so I tried to sit close to where we ended our drive at, and I ended up FaceTiming my parents because they couldn’t be here,” Tagovailoa said. “That’s usually how it goes. I usually talk to my parents after the game, and my parents usually never miss my game. That’s what I did, I went out there, and I talked to them. But yeah, that’s what that moment was about.”
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