NFLPA to initiate review into handling of Tua Tagovailoa’s injury as Miami Dolphins take AFC East lead with gritty win over Buffalo Bills

CNN  — 

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has told the NFL it wants to initiate a review into the handling of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s apparent head injury suffered on Sunday, the players association confirmed to CNN on Sunday.

In the second quarter of the Dolphins’ 21-19 victory against the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa exited the game having appeared to suffer a head injury after a hit from linebacker Matt Milano caused his helmet to hit the turf.

As he attempted to make his way back to the line of scrimmage, Tagovailoa stumbled, almost losing his balance before being taken to the locker room for a concussion check. Milano was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty.

The Dolphins announced Tagovailoa was questionable to return with a head injury, with back-up quarterback Teddy Bridgewater taking three snaps in his absence, but he came back out onto the field in the third quarter after halftime.

The NFL-NFLPA joint concussion protocol states that “gross motor instability is determined by a team physician in consultation with the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant, to be neurologically caused.” Tagovailoa was cleared when evaluated.

The NFL confirmed to CNN that a joint investigation will happen. CNN has reached out to the Dolphins for comment.

After the game, Tagovailoa told reporters that he fell onto his back before his head hit the turf causing his back to lock up and the resulting stumbling. He added that he was evaluated for a concussion but was ultimately cleared.

“The adrenaline kept me going,” Tagovailoa said.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel alluded to the back injury after the game also, saying that Tagovailoa’s back got “bent” on an earlier play but the hit “loosened his back” causing his legs to get wobbly. McDaniel added that Tagovailoa told him that his back was like “Gumby.”

Tagovailoa lays on the turf during the second quarter of the game against the Buffalo Bills.

‘Butt punt’

Tagovailoa’s brief stint in the concussion protocol was just one of many twists and turns in the thrilling division clash between the Dolphins and the Bills.

Both entered the AFC East division clash undefeated, with both looking impressive in the first two weeks of the season.

Behind superstar quarterback Josh Allen, the red-hot Bulls offense looked to be rolling in the first half, but the Dolphins matched them step-for-step, with the two teams tied at halftime, 14-14.

With just over 10 minutes left in the game, the Dolphins took their first lead of the game – and the Bills went behind for the first time this season – as Chase Edmunds ran for his second touchdown of the afternoon.

Needing a touchdown to regain the lead, Allen led the Bills down the field but was unable to punch the ball into the endzone, eventually turning the ball over on downs on Miami’s two-yard line.

However, the most bizarre incident of the weekend occurred with the Dolphins backed up in their own endzone.

On their own one-yard line, needing to punt the ball away with restricted space available, Miami punter Thomas Morstead kicked the ball off teammate Trent Sherfield’s backside and out of bounds for a safety.

Morstead has his punt blocked by his own player in the fourth quarter of the game against the Buffalo Bills.

The internet humorously coined the incident the “butt punt” in reference to Mark Sanchez’s infamous “butt fumble” while he was with the New York Jets.

Sanchez joked about the incident on social media afterwards, saying: “Woah… stay out of my lane bro.”

Despite the oddity of the incident, it left the Dolphins in tough position, with a two-point lead with just over 90 seconds left and with Allen only needing a field goal to win the game.

However, Miami’s defense – which had harassed Allen all day – managed to once again stifle Buffalo’s progress down the field, with time expiring as the Bills offense attempted to snap the ball on the Dolphins’ 41-yard line.

The victory, over many people’s favorite for Super Bowl success this year, was a statement win for Miami, leaving them top of the AFC East division and undefeated at 3-0. The Bills slip to 2-1.

After the game, Miami head coach McDaniel said he learned a lot about his team during the gritty win.

“I think we have a lot of team – I learned a lot about the resolve,” he told the media. “You don’t know until you have it happen.

“The team got a lot of confidence in the offense last week. So when you worry that when push comes to shove and you’re trying to finish the game that if you get a first down, the game is over, and you can’t get a yard, you worry about the team’s resolve.

“But I see much better than I hear. I was hoping, but to see the way they came back with confidence and played attacking football, I learned what I would hope to learn. You never know until you’re in those situations, but I was very happy with the entire team and how they pressed forward because even special teams, you know, we have an unfortunate situation.”