(CBSMiami)- Dolphins fans had a great Sunday. The team dominated the New York Jets 24-0, recording the first shutout of the 2020 season and, rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made his first appearance, coming in to finish out the final two minutes with the game out of reach.
For Tagovailoa, it was a moment long in the making, his first time back on a football field in a game since suffering a hip injury while playing for Alabama in November of 2019. While he threw just two passes, completing both for a total of nine yards, it was Tagovailoa’s first NFL action and he made sure to soak it in after the game. The 22-year-old returned to the field after the game, sitting down where his drive ended and FaceTimed his parents.
Tua Tagovailoa went back to the field and he’s sitting around the 15-yard-line in full uniform. It looks like he’s soaking this moment in.
On November 16, 2019, Tua suffered a potentially career-ending injury. On October 18, 2020, he threw his first NFL passes. pic.twitter.com/q5OHSNQe2c
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) October 18, 2020
His parents weren’t able to be in Miami for Sunday’s game, so Tagovailoa called them to share the moment with his family. He explained after the game what the moment meant to him.
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“The biggest thing that really stands out to me is just being able to make my parents proud,” said Tagovailoa. “Whether that’s Tua as a football player, Tua as a person, Tua as a son, I think that’s what brings me the most joy is seeing how happy my parents get and then seeing how happy my family gets, as well, with who I am and also what I do.”
Dolphins fans were just as happy seeing their top pick enter the game, cheering and chanting his name at Hard Rock Stadium. Starter Ryan Fitzpatrick was pumping up the crowd when Tua entered.
Tua took the field and no one was more pumped about it than Ryan Fitzpatrick, the player that was replaced by the rookie QB.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 18, 2020
“That was just a cool moment for him, just the reception from the crowd that was here and us on the sideline,” said Fitzpatrick after the game.
For Tagovailoa, he told reporters that he was appreciative of the reception from the fans but also the support from the veteran QB.
“I definitely could hear it. There’s nothing else playing in the stadium, so I could hear that,” said Tagovailoa. “And that was awesome. But to just be out there with my teammates, being my first time, and getting the support and love from them, I think that was super awesome. And then you have a 16-year vet like Fitz, who has no animosity toward it as well, who’s just been supportive that entire time. Good drive, bad drive, he comes to the sideline and just talks through his process with why he did some things. I’m very fortunate to have a mentor like him who is just very encouraging on the field and then this guy is, like, he’s just very personable off the field as well.”
The Dolphins, following Sunday’s win are now 3-3 and currently in second place in the AFC East.