Dolphins bench Tua Tagovailoa against Raiders, but Brian Flores says he'll start in Week 17

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Eric Edholm
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If the Miami makes the playoffs, who will be the quarterback?

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores pulled rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in a close game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night, going back to Ryan Fitzpatrick with 9:47 remaining in the fourth quarter with Miami trailing, 16-13.

Tagovailoa completed 17 of 22 passes and threw for a game-tying TD pass early in the third quarter. But he threw for only 94 yards and took drive-ending sacks on his final three possessions, all of which ended in punts.

After the Dolphins’ wild victory, Flores said Tua will be his starter next week against the Buffalo Bills in a possible playoff preview.

Fitzpatrick came in Saturday and completed five of his first six passes for 73 yards, including a 31-yard pass — the longest play of the game to that point for Miami — to Mike Gesicki down to the Las Vegas 4-yard line.

Mack Hollins couldn’t haul in a good pass from Fitzpatrick at the goal line on second-and-goal, and Fitzpatrick airmailed his third-down attempt. The Dolphins had to settle for a game-tying field goal.

Hollins, however, was on the receiving end of the penultimate catch in this game, a 34-yard reception that capped a wild series of events that led to a stunning Miami victory.

Tua Tagovailoa started slowly but led the Miami Dolphins to a major victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa started slowly but led the Miami Dolphins to a major victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Fitzpatrick finished the game 9 of 13 passing for 182 yards and a 59-yard TD to Myles Gaskin. Could he be asked to come off the bench again to the rescue this season?

Flores has now flip-flopped his quarterbacks several times since midseason.

Fitzpatrick opened the season as the Dolphins’ starter and started the first six games. That’s when Flores first tapped Tagovailoa as his starter.

But Flores yanked Tagovailoa for Fitzpatrick in a 20-13 loss to the Denver Broncos and started Fitzpatrick the following week against the New York Jets in Week 11.

Tagovailoa had started four straight games, including Saturday night. But his status going forward feels quite murky now.

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