MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. >> After three weeks away with fractured ribs, Tua Tagovailoa got through his first game back healthy and feeling comfortable with what he was able to do, yet dissatisfied that the effort did not result in a win.
The Miami Dolphins quarterback now looks to build off his 33-of-47 performance for 329 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, even as reports resurfaced on Wednesday of Dolphins trade talks with the Houston Texans over Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Multiple media reports out of Houston Wednesday afternoon — that then turned into national reports — indicated that the Texans are moving closer to a deal with the Dolphins for the star quarterback with the possibility that it happens this week, ahead of the NFL’s Nov. 2 trade deadline.
Watson has not played this season amid 22 civil suits accusing him of coercive and lewd sexual behavior, with two that allege sexual assault. He has not been charged criminally, and his lawyer has denied the accusations.
For Tagovailoa, who spoke to Miami media following Wednesday’s practice but before the latest reports came about, he’s focused on translating his mostly good and few bad plays into a win this Sunday against the Falcons after his team has now suffered five consecutive losses. The previous three were entirely without him, and the first one he made his exit in the first quarter of a Sept. 19 defeat to the Bills.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the outcome we wanted,” Tagovailoa said of the loss to Jacksonville. “I think there’s some things that we did really well in the game, and there’s bits and pieces that we can go back into the film room and say, ‘This isn’t up to our standards, and how do we go about fixing that?’ And that’s what this week is for. We have another chance to play another game, another team.”
Tagovailoa, who appeared to be throwing harder coming off his injury, was encouraged by the offense’s execution, offensive-line play, efficiency in the run-pass option offense and connection on downfield throws. In his first game back, he was still feeling “sore” in the ribs but said it’s something he forgets about in the heat of competition.
“Yes and no,” he said of whether he was feeling discomfort. “Yes, there’s some points of discomfort when I do certain things. But no because, when I’m in the game, you’re just going.”
Through it all, Tagovailoa impressed with most of his throws and ability to run the Dolphins offense, aside from his interception late in the third quarter.
“For a guy that had quite a bit of time off, he came out firing,” co-offensive coordinator George Godsey said. “Coming off of injury and not being able to practice how he wanted to, I thought that was a credit to him and his preparation.”