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Tua Tagovailoa struck head on turf late in first half of Sunday’s game

Matthew Berry and Jay Croucher break down the biggest storylines from Week 16, including a Cowboys-Eagles thriller that yielded big days for CeeDee Lamb and Devonta Smith, the Bills RBs showing out and the Dolphins' latest woes.

With Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa landing in the concussion protocol one day after throwing three interceptions in the fourth quarter of a 26-20 loss to the Packers, the question becomes when and how he suffered an apparent head injury, his second (and perhaps third) of the year.

Coach Mike McDaniel told reporters on Monday that the team doesn’t know when the potential concussion may have happened. Some of the folks watching the game on TV figured it out yesterday.

As early as late Sunday afternoon, a video was posted on social media showing Tua’s head strike the ground late in the first half of the game. (Adam Schefter of has posted what appears to be the exact same video, with the exact same framing and camera wobble, without crediting the person who originally posted it.)

The situation should spark another inquiry regarding the handling of a Tua Tagovailoa head injury. At a time when the NFL Players Association has made it clear that it wants players to be treated first and foremost as patients, Tua’s unique history should have triggered, at a minimum, a call for a concussion evaluation the moment his head struck the ground.

But the spotters didn’t notice it, or they didn’t think to require Tua to be checked.

It will be interesting to see if the NFLPA demands an investigation (it should), and whether the league does anything other than circle the wagons and/or make excuses -- similar to the explanation provided after Patriots receiver DeVante Parker wasn’t removed from play while in clear distress due to a potential head injury, until teammate Nelson Agholor insisted on it.

Even as the NFLPA insists on better care for players, part of the problem continues to be that the players aren’t wired to tap out when they possibly have had their bells rung. Tua, like every other player, wants to play. He doesn’t want to give up his spot in the lineup. He wants to prove that he’s durable and capable, especially at a time when the Dolphins had lost three in a row and doubts about his abilities were creeping back in.

But a player can do himself a disservice by keeping his head down and his mouth shut about suffering a potential concussion. If the head injury contributed in any way to his head-scratching play in the fourth quarter, he and the team would have been better off if he’d self-reported any symptoms he may have been feeling, with someone else taking over.

Then again, someone who is paid specifically to watch the games with an eye out for potential head injuries should have thought to require an evaluation of Tua, if not during the final minutes of the second quarter then at halftime.

The fact that it didn’t happen proves yet again that there are flaws in the system that no amount of hired hands and talking points will ever iron out of the game. For the same reason that concussions are inevitable in football, the inability to spot all potential concussions that happen in football is also inevitable.