Jerry Hughes Refuses to Tackle Marcus Mariota for Fear of Penalty

Jerry Hughes (55) in a game in 2017. Photo by Jevone Moore/Cal Sport Media/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (9229307at)

The NFL’s roughing the passer rule has been causing ripple effects on players, with the latest victim being Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes.

After a prime encounter with Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota, Hughes had the opportunity to tackle the defensive end and complete a sack. Out of fear the officials could flag him for violating the roughing the passer rule, the 30-year-old let go Mariota.

The NFL has been strict in enforcing roughing the passer rule this season. Players are penalized almost every time they tackle quarterbacks, which is why De Jerry made sure the officials saw that he didn’t have the intent to tackle Mariota. Although the reason Jerry’s pass failed to go through was good coverage, it proved the point that many defenders are afraid of constantly being penalized for doing what they are paid to do.

Hughes said he couldn’t tackle Mariota as it could greatly inconvenience his team and risk the offense scoring a touchdown on that drive.

“When I go to wrap you up I’m naturally low so I’m naturally underneath you,” Hughes said. “If I pick him up and finish him, it’s a 15-yard penalty and they might score (a touchdown) on that drive. It’s a tough situation to be in, and I’m very thankful that our secondary played lights out all day and got us off the field.”

Sought Clarification Afterward

Hughes later asked the officials what to do the next time he is in such a situation.

“I spoke to the white hat and he just told me just to wrap and drive him back and they’ll blow the whistle and mark his forward progress,” the defensive end player told reporters. “Now I know for the future.”