Miami Dolphins Won’t Have Fitzmagic in the Bullpen on Sunday

Miami Dolphins Over

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play on Sunday.
  • The Miami Dolphins are in a must-win situation against the Buffalo Bills this weekend.
  • Miami has signed Jake Ruddock to back up Tua Tagovailoa in their season finale.

The Miami Dolphins’ two-headed monster at quarterback has baffled a lot of people. But for Flores and the Dolphins, it has worked this season. Miami began 2020 with Ryan Fitzpatrik as starting quarterback but head coach Brian Flores ended up giving the keys to the team to highly-touted rookie Tua Tagovailoa. But while Flores has replaced Fitzpatrick as starter, he has not been shy to pull out Tagovailoa and let Fitzpatrick finish games, if needed.

Such was the case last week when the Dolphins’ season hung in the balance when they trailed the Las Vegas Raiders in the 4th quarter of their Week 16 matchup. Down by a field goal, Fitzpatrick weaved his magic and led the Dolphins to a thrilling, come-from-behind 26-25 win over the Raiders to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Despite Fitzpatrick’s heroics, Flores said he would start Tagovailoa this weekend. But when he made that statement, he was confident because he knew that if Tua would have problems against Buffalo, he could call on Fitzpatrick from his bullpen to save the day or close the show. But the Dolphins have just lost that luxury.

Fitzpatrick Out of Sunday’s Game

According to the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick has tested positive for COVID-19 and is out of Sunday’s game against the Bills. The Dolphins and NFL have began contract tracing and as of Thursday afternoon, there were no high-risk close contact. However, Fitzpatrick was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice and wasn’t on the injured list, meaning the positive test was not expected.

Miami allowed every other player to practice on Thursday, except injured linebacker Elandon Roberts, which indicates that they do not believe that any other player might have been infected by Fitzpatrick as close contact. The NFL requires COVID-19 close contacts to undergo quarantine as well.

By NFL rules, Fitzpatrick must isolate for at least 10 days. This means that even if Miami makes the playoffs, he won’t be available for their possible January 9th game. But that is already looking too far ahead. The Dolphins head to Sunday’s game against the Bills as +3 point underdogs prior to Fitpatrick’s positive test. The odds for the game have since been taken down pending the final and official Miami COVID-19 list.

As for Fitzpatrick, he is likely done for the season. He finishes his second season in Miami with a 95.6 passer rating, the second-highest of his 16 year NFL career. He has passed for 2,901 yards with 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while starting a total of 7 games. Fitzpatrick will become a free agent in March and he has not yet announced if he will continue playing next seasons.

Dolphins Sign Jake Ruddock

While Tagovailoa will start for the Dolphins, the team needed to carry another signal-caller to their 53-man lineup to serve as Sunday’s back-up quarterback. Because of that, Miami signed veteran Jake Ruddock to fill the void. Ruddock participated in training camp and started the season on Miami’s practice squad before he was released and replaced by rookie Reid Sennett on September 14th.

Since then, Ruddock has been sent to the Dolphins’ headquarters three times to begin a series of tests. He signed with the team on the third visit. Ruddock has thrown a total of five passes in the NFL, completing 3 for 24 yards with all pass attempts coming during the 2017 season. Despite that, reports say that the Dolphins feel more comfortable with Ruddock backing up Tua than having Sinnett play that role.

With Fitzpatrick unavailable, Tua Tagovailoa will be assured that he won’t be benched on Sunday, unless something unfortunate happens, which nobody wants. Tagovailoa has seen Fitzpatrick finish two of his team’s last five games, going 1-1 in those two games. He will get every opportunity to deliver in the biggest game of his NFL career.

Miami’s playoff life will depend heavily on Sunday’s game. If the Dolphins beat the Bills, they will advance to the playoffs. If Miami loses, they could still make the postseason but will need a loss from either thee Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, or Baltimore Ravens.

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