Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills in the first quarter with a rib injury.
The injury appeared to take place when the Dolphins went for it on fourth-and-2 near midfield on their second possession. Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa put a big hit on Tagovailoa as he released an incomplete pass.
— Bradley Gelber (@BradleyGelber) September 19, 2021
Tagovailoa needed help off the field and eventually left for the locker room on a cart. The Dolphins later announced that he suffered a rib injury and was questionable to return. Jacoby Brissett took over at quarterback for the Dolphins' next drive with Miami trailing 14-0 after Buffalo scored touchdowns on its first two possessions.
Tua Tagovailoa was helped off of the field after the last offensive play. He is now being carted to the Dolphins locker room. pic.twitter.com/h5atY8vd89
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 19, 2021
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Tagovailoa suffered bruised ribs and that X-Rays didn't show any fractures. An MRI on Monday didn't reveal any further issues.
#Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa underwent further tests this morning on his bruised ribs and my understanding is those didn’t reveal any major issues. X-rays were negative. So it’ll be about pain tolerance and functionality moving forward. #Raiders await Sunday in Las Vegas.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 20, 2021
Brissett played the rest of a scoreless game for the Dolphins, who lost to the Bills, 35-0.
Brissett finished the game completing 24 of 40 pass attempts for 169 yards with an interception. The Bills outgained a hapless Dolphins offense, 314 yards to 216 while forcing three turnovers. It was a harsh return to reality for the Dolphins, who were the only AFC East team to win in Week 1 after beating the New England Patriots.
Tagovailoa's long-term prognosis wasn't immediately clear. What is clear is that the Dolphins need him back if they're going to have any chance to compete.