Another week and another mid-game quarterback change left the Miami Dolphins scrambling in a loss.
Dolphins rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson made the start and was knocked out in the first half of Sunday's 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings with a thumb injury to his throwing hand. Teddy Bridgewater took over but couldn't get much going until Miami was down double-digits in the fourth quarter.
It's the third straight loss where the Dolphins have struggled to score without Tua Tagovailoa under center. But head coach Mike McDaniel said he wouldn't allow his team to use the QB injuries as an excuse as the Dolphins fell to 3-3.
"You can look at it as a reason for X, Y or Z -- I challenge the guys not to," he said, via Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN. "We have a lot of faith in all the players that we have on this team, and the quarterbacks that we've been working with since last April, any one of them we have high expectations to go execute and succeed. Now, of course it's not ideal. You want the guys that get all the reps during the week to play, but you always know that that's a possibility.
"I'm going to demand that the team does not point at that to be a reason for what's happened or a reason for the loss. I think that's the easy thing to do. I think that's the path of least resistance, and generally the path of least resistance doesn't lend the results that an ambitious, convicted, all-in players' team, organization wants. Yeah, there's always difficulties and adversity within NFL football games. I thought we had the capability to overcome that, and we didn't."
In the first three games of the season, the Dolphins went 3-0, earning 27.7 points per game with a 115.6 passer rating and two turnovers. Since Tagovailoa was knocked out in the second quarter of Week 4, Miami is 0-3, averaging 16.0 points per game with a 74.4 passer rating and seven turnovers.
Bridgewater completed 23 of 34 passes for 329 yards, two touchdowns but had two interceptions. Jaylen Waddle also fumbled in the fourth quarter, with the Dolphins threatening to take the lead.
McDaniel emphasized that blaming the QB situation was the "easy out" and believes the players in the locker room are capable of righting the ship regardless of who is under center.
With Tagovailoa clearing concussion protocol and expected to start next week against Pittsburgh, Miami is looking to get back on the winning track.