While the opening drive of last Sunday night’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers looked like there was no rust for Tua Tagovailoa, the rest of the night offered plenty to hint at when the Miami Dolphins quarterback suffered a concussion. Missed two and a half games. .

The Dolphins never found the end zone again after going 6 of 7 for 68 yards and a touchdown to running back Raheem Mostert on the opening series. They settled for field goals on three of their next four drives in the first half and did not score at all in the second half.

Tagovailoa, who went 21 of 35 for 261 yards, made several throws that the normally accurate left-hander just missed. He had no passes, but four of his throws were picked off by Steelers defenders and dropped.

Miami (4-3), back An injury-plagued defense that stepped up to make a late stopwas able to squeak by with a 16-10 win, but Tagovailoa knows he has to be faster going forward.

Sometimes, all it takes is a second game back to get rid of that initial rust. Tagovailoa gets that opportunity. This Sunday at Detroit against the Lions (1-5). And their defense is last in total yards allowed (412.2 per game) and scoring defense (32.3).

“I think you start to get back into a rhythm,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday. “You start to get back into how your routine was from week one to week two, staying in that rhythm of working out.”

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel assessed Tagovailoa’s first game back on Monday, saying he “definitely” noticed the timing between his quarterback and pass catchers was a little off.

“They knew it during the game,” McDaniel said. “We talk a lot about the timing of our offense and when we want to get things out of our breaks and how we’re expecting the quarterbacks. And receivers are expecting to run their routes.

“We fell short because there was a little hesitation or just straying from our fundamentals. And when you’re still able to find a way to win, it’s great to have those experiences because now you You can learn from them.”

With Tagovailoa returning from that concussion on Sept. 29 in Cincinnati, plus another hit to the head that wasn’t considered a concussion four days earlier against the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins will love to see how much he can do. Take hits. takes.

After all, against the Steelers, Tagore still twice insisted on barreling his head and shoulders into defenders on scrambles — once, it was 234-pound linebacker Deon Bush Jr.

“Look at that,” Tagovailoa said, reiterating how he’s been instructed internally to avoid that kind of contact. “Obviously, what my coaches said to me was, ‘We never want you to do that.’ Obviously, I understand, coming off the injury and what happened before.”

Tagovailoa didn’t pick up the necessary yardage for a first down anyway, so it didn’t help the team to slide past him.

“To me, it’s football,” he said. “You go out there, and for me, I can see the first down in examples and want to do everything I can to get it.”

Outside of scrambles during the Steelers game, Tagovailoa was held clean in the pocket. He was not fired and was only hit once. Miami’s pass protection returned left tackle Teron Armistead and stuck with veteran Brandon Schell at right tackle while Greg Little moved back to the bench.

“I loved it. It was great,” Tagovailoa said. “I think Mike really planned it, too. Just because we were getting the ball out early. I think, for their D-line to get a feel for their rush patterns and then, Also realizing where the space was for the quarterback. We were moving spots back there and not just catching and passing the ball, so I thought they did really well.

Tagovailoa said a big goal of Miami’s offense this week is to finish drives, as the team did in the scripted opening series, maintaining consistency throughout Sunday at Ford Field.

Although the Lions enter the season with just one win, Tagovailoa stressed that they are better than their record and said he has been impressed with some of the things they do defensively, despite It does not display statistics.