The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Miami Dolphins, 27-15, Thursday night in a game overshadowed by a serious injury suffered by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins QB suffered head and neck injuries after being thrown to the ground hard on a sack in the first half.
Higgins Enjoys Huge Game
The game was far from an offensive showcase for either side. But when the Bengals needed to push the ball down the field, they came through with completions. Joe Burrow hit deep passes to Tyler Boyd and Ja’Marr Chase to set the Bengals up with goal-to-go, eventually leading to a go-ahead field goal. One drive later, Burrow found Chase again as well as Tee Higgins for 36 total yards, setting up a 57-yard field goal by Evan McPherson to extend the lead.
Cincinnati’s biggest play of the game and the play that iced it away were also Burrow passes. For the former, in the second quarter, Burrow hit a 59-yard strike to Higgins down the left side for a touchdown, beating Miami Pro Bowl CB Xavien Howard. And for the latter, the Bengals QB found tight end Hayden Hurst in the end zone with 1:52 to play to make the lead two possessions. That opportunity itself was set up by another deep pass, to Chase for 36 yards, putting Cincinnati at the Miami 6-yard line.
Higgins had his first 100-yard game of the season, going for 124 yards on seven catches, while Burrow finished with 287 yards on 20-of-31 passing. Chase finished with 81 yards, as the team’s passing attack carried the load while the ground game was limited to 2.2 yards per carry.
Tagovailoa Taken Off on Stretcher
As Tagovailoa attempted to extend a play, he was caught and spun to the field by Cincinnati’s Josh Tupou, landing hard on his upper back and shoulders. He left the field minutes later on a stretcher and was later diagnosed with a concussion.
No interest in football right now. Praying for Tua.
— DocFlynn (@DocFlynnNFL) September 30, 2022
Tagovailoa was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center — about five miles from the stadium — where he was diagnosed with head and neck injuries. The Dolphins announced that he was conscious and had movement in all his extremities.
Prayers up to Tua. Praying it’s nothing serious and he has a speedy recovery.
— Matt Cassel (@M_Cassel16) September 30, 2022
The injury comes four days after Tagovailoa had to leave Miami’s Week 3 contest against Buffalo. Similarly, he endured a hard hit, and was stumbling as he tried to walk. After getting helped to the locker room and missing the remainder of the first half, Tagovailoa returned to play the entirety of the second half. Miami’s handling of the incident is being investigated by the NFL Players’ Association.
Bridgewater, Dolphins Push Through Following Injury
The Dolphins had to watch their young quarterback leave on a stretcher, but once play resumed, they proved resilient and pushed through to keep the game competitive to the end. Until Cincinnati scored inside the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter, neither team led by more than seven points at any time.
Miami’s defense forced a pair of punts in the second half and limited Cincinnati to field goals on two more occasions. At one point, the team made two straight stops inside its own 3-yard line to deny Cincinnati. The Bengals elected to kick the field goal rather than go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Stepping up in particular was Teddy Bridgewater, who was signed in the offseason to be Tagovailoa’s backup. The former first-round pick, who started in Carolina and Denver the last two seasons, came in following the injury. He led the Dolphins to a touchdown on his first full drive.
Kudos to Teddy Bridgewater for being ready and prepared to step in there
— trey wingo (@wingoz) September 30, 2022
Cincinnati did get to Bridgewater in the second half, Vonn Bell intercepting a throw with just over three minutes to play as Bridgewater tried to drive Miami to a go-ahead touchdown. Bridgewater’s final line was 14–of-23 for 193 yards, with the lone touchdown and an interception. He will be in line for additional starts in the weeks ahead in the likely event Tagovailoa misses time.