Josh Tupou’s first career sack is the one that injured Tua Tagovailoa: I never intended to hurt him

Miami Dolphins v Cincinnati Bengals
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Josh Tupou waited five years and 44 career games before recording his first sack, but it proved bittersweet for the Bengals defensive tackle.

The hit caused Tua Tagovailoa‘s head to bounce off the turf, leaving the Dolphins quarterback with a brain injury that sent him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for observation. Tagovailoa flew home with his teammates after the game.

“I didn’t realize he was knocked out or had a bad concussion until after I turned back around after I celebrated,” Tupou said Friday, via “I know it wasn’t a good look celebrating while he was down like that the way he was. I never want to hurt nobody in the NFL, especially another Polynesian brother.”

Tupou’s sack changed the momentum with the Dolphins driving, having reached the Cincinnati 40 with 5:57 left in the second quarter. That, though, was overshadowed by Tagovailoa’s injury. Tupou was surprised when he saw Tagovailoa still on the ground after the play.

“I was just trying to get him down off a little roll tackle,” Tupou said, “so that’s why I didn’t realize he was hurt. I didn’t think I threw him back hard enough.”

Tupou, who started in place of the injured DJ Reader, played 64 percent of the defensive snaps. He had three tackles to go with his sack.

“Even though it was a good moment for me, it was a hard moment for him and his family to see him the way he was,” Tupou said. “His health overrides my sack.”

52 responses to “Josh Tupou’s first career sack is the one that injured Tua Tagovailoa: I never intended to hurt him

  1. Amazing how this play never drew a roughing the passer flag.

    Flag for landing with your body weight? Check.

    Flag for throwing a QB around like a ragdoll? Nope.

  2. It’s embarrassing that the Dolphins allow other teams to destroy Tua. They don’t even attempt to return the favor! Pathetic..

  3. Almost a trivia question, who was the tackler that killed a player on the field in the modern era of NFL football.

  4. Meh. I’ve seen defensive lineman look like fools with stronger quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb and Dante Culpepper… They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Tua did himself no favors on that play.

    The bigger transgression is the NFL/Miami Dolphins/Tua Tagovailoa indifference towards his obvious concussion the prior week.

  5. Nice of him to feel remorse and it was evident in the interview. That said, the kid did absolutely nothing wrong.

  6. It was a football play. Should blame the Dolphins for trotting him out there four days after a concussion.

  7. Tua has improved at reading defenses and moving safety’s with his eyes. What he still needs to improve on is to to know when to bail out of a play and live for another down by throwing the ball away or just falling to the ground and taking the sack.

  8. Tupou is reasonable for not realizing that hit caused such an injury. Fact is, it wasn’t a big hit. Tua’s head didn’t even hit the ground hard, as the hit lost momentum when Tua ended up on Tupou’s lap. However, you can see Tua’s body get rigid as he was swung back quickly—I think Tua was out before he ever hit the ground. Tua’s injury against the Bills was obviously a more significant impact.

  9. mistahjoekerr says:

    September 30, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    Amazing how this play never drew a roughing the passer flag.

    Flag for landing with your body weight? Check.

    Flag for throwing a QB around like a ragdoll? Nope

    It’s amazing you dont understand well everything.

    The tackle was just that a legal tackle, it wasnt throwing like a ragdoll. The reason for flags when landing with your full weight is because the player is already going down so the play is over, the only reason to land on them with your full weight is to cause pain because the play is already over. Maybe now you understand the basics at least 🤷‍♂️

  10. He spun him around to the ground like i see 5 times a game during tackle football. That didnt even resemble anything dirty. This is big boy football fellas stop being wimps.

  11. If not for the crazy aftermath, the tackle wouldn’t have seemed out of the ordinary. Even in slow-mo – his head wasn’t even the first thing that hit the ground, and his head impact didn’t look all that hard.

    Which seems to further underscore how he was likely already concussed, and thus more vulnerable to another one with less force.

  12. Nothing wrong with the tackle at all and nothing to apologize for. It was a football play. 100/100 times that is a clean play.

    The people who have something to apologize for are the Dolphins organization and the league. They criminally mishandled this situation.

  13. You play NFL football on green concrete and you’re gonna have concussions and non contact torn ACL’s. The owners can save probably a few hundred to a few thousand bucks on maintenance by not having grass so what if a $100 million player or two go down?

  14. It’s not his fault though. Tua NEVER should of played the game in the first place. We all know he was concussed from just a few days prior. This is on the Dolphins and their medical staff.

  15. I get being mad that Tua got hurt. I was mad when Joe Burrow got hurt in his rookie season. I didn’t blame the Redskins player(s) that were involved. It was a clean, hard hitting play that resulted in an unfortunate injury. Same thing with Tua’s injury. There was nothing dirty about it. Football is a violent game. Those crying for penalties or, even worse, repaying injury with injury teally need to grow up…or start watching figure skating- might be more your speed.

  16. Watched it 10 times in slow mo, He was literally sitting with HIS butt on the ground while he pulled him down. No weight on him at all.

    Tua’s left elbow hit the ground the hardest followed by his head but honestly wasn’t hard hit on his head. He clearly wasn’t right from Sunday with slamming back of his head to turf.

    Odd watching the way Tua fell on Sundays hit, he was more pushed backwards, backpedaling several times before slamming head on turf. One would think he could/should learn to protect his body better on a fall like that, curl up, turn to side, etc…not fall straight backwards slamming head.

    Either way, hoping this young man can recuperate safely and get back to doing what he loves

  17. Tua could and should sue the Dolphins and NFL for a billion dollars. I bet he would win. And that will be the end of the NFL as we know it.

  18. Yup tear out all artificial turf that’s as hard as concrete and install grass it can row indoors.

  19. Was it legal ? YES…

    Was it considerably more violent than it needed to be…

    Also YES.

    Watch it at full speed… he seemed to actually speed up the tackle as the process went.

    It was a perfectly executed roll tackle…and the whistle was most.assuderdly coming… but then he snapped Tua to the ground with much more than needed force.

  20. Tupou’s concern for Tua instead of it being all about his first sack shows admirable character traits. It was a legal tackle made without malice. What’s with all the downvotes to the mention of them both being Samoan? Do that many readers not even know what a Samoan is? Unbelievable.

  21. There’s literally only three reasons to believe that was a dirty hit. One you didn’t actually see it and you’re going by what other people said. Two you’re bitter that he got hurt and you’re getting emotional about it. Three you’re an idiot

  22. Watching the replay it does not look like Tua’s head hit the ground that hard – took most of the brunt on his back.

  23. It was a great defensive play. There’s nothing else to say except we hope Tua recovers quickly.

  24. Miami continues to cheat. He shouldnt have even come back last week, much less play 4 days later with a “back” Injury. I mean how stupid do they think we are?

  25. Tua is a model car kit you build and then try and play with like a hot wheel car going down the orange track. . It breaks every time.

  26. As the film shows, Tua’s head didn’t hit the ground very hard, and his body seemed to spas when his BACK hit the ground, soooooo-maybe he actually DID injure his BACK against The Bills…..

  27. It will be a shame if Tua is susceptible to concussions and it impacts his career. IIRC the 9ers Chris Borland retired at 24 due to concussions.

  28. First of all, Tua needed get rid of that ball sooner on that play. If he does that, we aren’t having this conversation. That being said, that tackle was way more forceful than it had to be. When you’re using your body weight to create something of an inertial fulcrum, you magnify the force being brought down on the player unnecessarily.

  29. Tupou did absolutely nothing wrong; a description by some “expert” on the radio described the play completely wrong. Tupou do not “body slam” Tua at all nor land on him with his body weight. Tupou fell down and simply pulled Tua down, over his legs which unintentionally accelerated Tua”s fall. Tua also had no way to break his fall. It was simply an unfortunate fluke of positioning. That sort of thing does occasionally happen in tackle football.
    The bigger issue is what happened just a few days earlier in Miami’s previous game. There is no excuse for not pulling Tua from the game when he staggered and needed a teammate’s help to keep from collapsing. I didn’t see the Thursday game prior to Tia’s injury so so have a question for anyone who did see it: was there any indication that Tua was sluggish or indicating any lingering effects from last weekends injury? Even if the answer is no that does not necessarily mean Tua should have been playing though.

  30. Let Tua heal. Let this guy celebrate his first sack. And let’s move on. This guy never intended to hurt anybody. I bet you even though he got his first sack he would probably take it back if he knew this would be the end result.

    Frankly I am not happy with either of these guys because they should have went to the University of Hawaii. We’ll talk about that later.

  31. “There’s literally only three reasons to believe that was a dirty hit. One you didn’t actually see it and you’re going by what other people said. Two you’re bitter that he got hurt and you’re getting emotional about it. Three you’re an idiot.”


    Four – All of the above!

  32. It’s hard to understand how the Doctors examining Tua in the Buffalo game overlooked all the signs of a concussion Tua displayed after his hit in that game. I hope this does not get swept on the rug.

  33. Turf as hard as concrete?!? When the hell was the last time you walked on a field, even a high school field for that matter. The surfaces are like mini trampolines and not like the field you or your dad played on in the 80’s. And stay the hell off my lawn.

  34. As others have said it was a clean play and NOT roughing for once the refs got it right. The Phins should be ashamed of themselves for putting Tua in that game when he was clearly still hurt.

  35. Skoliosis Sufferer says:
    October 1, 2022 at 6:29 am
    “There’s literally only three reasons to believe that was a dirty hit. One you didn’t actually see it and you’re going by what other people said. Two you’re bitter that he got hurt and you’re getting emotional about it. Three you’re an idiot.”


    Four – All of the above!


    Four – Your desire to see the Dolphins not get sanctioned at this point in time is greater than your concern for the well being of the players themselves. So you feel compelled to support the lies from the team.

  36. Mike Singletary once said (paraphrasing) “My mentality is to kill the QB. After I hit him, I pray he’s okay.”

  37. It was a clean hit, but the mechanics of it were unusual leading to extremely high velocity at the moment of impact. Tupou’s wide body and his low grip on Tua maximized the length of the radius in the roll tackle which maximized the velocity, like the tip of a whip. I don’t recall another time when a player impacted the turf with that speed. If his head had happened to hit full force it would have been a lot worse. I don’t know if Tua was playing with a concussion already, but he has one now.

  38. He didn’t do anything wrong, BUT his comments are off.

    Football players are taught from the beginning to hit hard. The highlights we see aren’t of textbook tackles, but of tackles that have the capacity to knock the opponent out.

    In other words, his intention isn’t to hurt the opponent, except it’s been ingrained from the beginning. Why should anyone expect a different outcome?

  39. Tua doesn’t know how to take a bump unfortunately this will always be a problem for him

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