Tagovailoa briefly left Sunday’s 21-19 win over the Bills, returning despite appearing disoriented from what the team initially said was a head injury.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Tua Tagovailoa hit a header. It turned out that the bigger problem was his back.

Anyway, he was allowed to come back and he went through it all.

Tagovailoa briefly left Sunday’s 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills, returning despite appearing disoriented from what the team initially said was a head injury. He missed Miami’s final three snaps of the first half, then returned and played the rest of the way as the Dolphins became the AFC’s last undefeated team by knocking off the Bills.

Tagovailoa’s return has raised some questions. A person with knowledge of the matter said after the game that the NFL and the National Football League Players Association will conduct a joint review of what went into the decision to allow Tagovailoa to return to the game. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because that probe has not been released.

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Under NFL rules, in-game evaluations for suspected concussions involve not only the team’s medical staff, but also an independent neurotrauma consultant.

“I was kind of with everyone else. When he hit his head on the ground, I assumed it was a head injury,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “But his legs were wobbly because his waist was completely loose. And when he was describing it, he said his lower back was like Gumby or something.”

Tagovailoa completed 13 of 18 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown for the Dolphins. He says his day was nearly ruined not by a late hit by Buffalo’s Matt Milan, but rather by a play earlier where Tagovailoa bent awkwardly.

“I kind of got my legs under somebody and they were trying to push off and it looked like I overextended my back or something,” Tagovailoa said. hurt, and I got up, and that’s why I tripped – my back kind of pressed against me.”

Tagovailoa wasn’t the only quarterback hit during the Bills-Dolphins game, which was played in 90-degree heat that felt even hotter when you factored in the 57% humidity. Buffalo’s Josh Allen needed X-rays on his right hand after the game after hitting it on the helmet or mask — he wasn’t sure — in the final moments.

Allen had no protection on his arm after leaving the X-ray room.

“I’m fine,” he insisted after a 42-for-63, 400-yard, two-touchdown day.

Tagovailoa faced a third-and-three play from the Miami 21 late in the half when he scrambled to find Jalen Waddle for an 8-yard gain. After releasing the ball, Tagovailoa was hit — a two-handed shove in the chest — by Milan, who was flagged for roughing a passer.

Tagovailoa fell flat on his back, the back of his helmet bouncing off the grass. He lay there for a few seconds, then rose to his feet, took a few steps forward, and again briefly sank to the ground.

At that point, a pair of hitters were holding him up so he wouldn’t fall again, and Dolphins medical personnel ran onto the field to check him out further. They took him off the field right into the tunnel that leads to the Miami locker room.

“I’m fine,” Tagovailoa said. “I went through any concussion protocol, so I’m fine.”

Tagovailoa was replaced by Teddy Bridgewater for the three games he missed. Bridgewater attempted two passes, both of which fell incomplete.

On the first play of the second half, Tagovailoa found Tyreek Hill for 22 yards and showed no ill effects from the hit. And when the Dolphins got a kickoff on a Chase Edmonds run midway through the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa leapt into the air — again, not looking too limited.

He wore a bandage on his back after the game and will likely face a ton of treatment in the coming days. It’s a short week for Miami, which plays at Cincinnati on Thursday.

“You like it now, but it’s a quick turnaround, so you have to move on quickly,” Tagovailoa said.

He also said he would get some tests on his back.

“I don’t want to say that I’m a genie and that I’ll feel good tomorrow,” he said. – Let’s see. We’ll do the tests and then come back tomorrow. “