Miami Dolphins Wild Card Berth at Stake, QB Teddy Bridgewater Breaks Finger

By | January 3, 2023

The Miami Dolphins are fighting for an AFC Wild Card berth, and might have a third-string quarterback in the final game of the season. That’s because backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a finger injury in Week 17.

Miami Dolphins QB Teddy Brdgewater break pinkie finger Skylar Thompson Jets injury
Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater drops back for a pass against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. (Image: Getty)

Bridgewater broke the pinkie finger on his throwing hand in a 23-21 loss against the New England Patriots. The injury occurred in the second half when Bridgewater tossed an interception, which led to a pick-six touchdown by the Patriots’ Kyle Dugger. Bridgewater’s right hand struck the helmet of a Patriots defender while he failed to tackle Dugger.

After the interception, Bridgewater headed to the medical tent on the sidelines and was evaluated for a hand injury.

Rookie Skylar Thompson replaced Bridgewater and finished the game for the Dolphins. Thompson and the Dolphins failed to pull off a comeback, and lost by two points.

X-rays and further imaging on Monday revealed that Bridgewater broke the pinkie finger on his right hand. He was initially diagnosed with a dislocated finger.

I believe it was on making the tackle on the pick-six,” said Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.

Bridgewater replaced Tua Tagovaioloa as the starting quarterback in Week 17. That’s after Tagovailoa entered the NFL’s concussion protocol. It was Tagovailoa’s second official concussion. But he sustained an additional concussion that went undocumented against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3.

AFC Wild Card Situation: Dolphins on Bubble

The Patriots improved to 8-8 after defeating the Dolphins in Week 17. The Dolphins lost five games in a row, and slipped to 8-8. With the victory, the Patriots moved into the #7 seed in the AFC, and now hold a tiebreaker over the Dolphins.

FiveThirtyEight projected that the Dolphins have a 42% chance to qualify for the postseason, while the Patriots have a 33% chance.

The Dolphins play the Jets (7-9) in Week 18, and oddsmakers currently set the line as a pick’em in a must-win game for the Dolphins.

The Patriots square off against the Buffalo Bills (12-3) in Week 18, and the Bills are a -7.5 favorite.

If the season ended today, the AFC Playoffs bracket would include the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Patriots.

The Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tennessee Titans are on the bubble, and all three teams are still in contention for a playoff spot.

Skylar Thompson Expected to Start vs. Jets

The Dolphins are waiting for the swelling to subside in Brigdewater’s pinkie finger to gauge his availability in Week 18. If Bridgewater cannot play, Thompson will start the final game of the season.

The Dolphins’ postseason hopes could rely on a rookie. The Dolphins selected Thompson out of Kansas State with a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Thompson lost his only game as a starter for the Dolphins this season. He lost to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6 when both Tagovailoa and Bridgewater were out with a concussion.

Thompson completed 54.1% of his passes this season for 382 yards and one touchdown. He threw three interceptions and was sacked five times. Despite limited action, he has a QBR rating of 35.1.

Tagovailoa will not be available in Week 18. He banged his head in a loss against the Green Bay Packers on Christmas, and entered concussion protocol last week.

Specifically as mandated, I haven’t had a discussion with Tua about when he’s playing,” said McDaniel. “Because no time line has been discussed with intent. It is a day-to-day process really that, that is most important that we adhere to. And that’s just getting him better each and every day and getting him healthy as a person.”

Tagovailoa is also expected to miss the postseason if the Dolphins secure an AFC Wild Card berth. The Dolphins have not officially said Tagovailoa is done for the season. But all signs point toward the team shutting him down until next season.

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