However, Tagovailoa was forced in to relieve an injured Brissett and helped the Dolphins to a 22-10 upset of the Ravens on Thursday Night Football.
Tagovailoa scored on a one-yard QB sneak late in the game to seal the victory.
"I think it's tough, coming into a game second half. You've got to warm up, get your head in the right place," Tagovailoa said in a FOX postgame interview. "But that's the NFL."
Brissett was hurt on a sack by veteran pass rusher Justin Houston on the Dolphins' opening drive of the second half, and clutched his knee in pain. Houston beat left tackle Liam Eichenberg on the play and forced a fumble, but Eichenberg recovered to allow Miami to punt. Tagovailoa entered the game when the Dolphins got the ball back.
Tagovailoa replaced Brissett with the Dolphins leading, 6-3. Brissett left the field under his own power and walked into the blue medical tent. Not long after, Brissett, who was designated as questionable, appeared ready to return, but head coach Brian Flores elected to stay with Tagovailoa.
"[Brissett] probably was OK to go back in, but we just decided to stay with Tua," Flores said after the game. "We just like we might as well just leave him in there."
This was Brissett's second consecutive start with Tagovailoa back him up due to the finger injury.
"The finger was an issue. It was getting better. He was close, a lot closer than last week," Flores said of the decision not to start Tagovailoa. "We knew if there was an issue with Jacoby we would be able to play him. That's the route we went."
Brissett's final stat line for Thursday ahead of his exit was 11-of-23 passing for 158 yards, a 70.2 QB rating, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Tagovailoa, meanwhile, also threw for 158 yards on 8-of-13 passing for 158 yards, a 104.0 QB rating, no TDs and no INTs.
Though the numbers don't jump out for Tagovailoa, Flores was pleased with his quarterback's relief appearance.
"There was definitely some good plays," Flores said. "I thought he did a lot of good things; some throws he probably wishes he had back, but overall he helped us win the game."