Jerry Hughes was worried about roughing Marcus Mariota, so he let him go

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Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was able to avoid what looked like a sure sack in the second half of Sunday’s game when he was wrapped up by Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes.

Mariota didn’t wriggle free due to his own efforts, however. Hughes let him go and he confirmed after the game that he did so because he didn’t want to become the latest player flagged for roughing the passer while finishing a tackle.

“I made an inside move and I’m underneath the quarterback at that point in time. When I go to wrap you up I’m naturally low so I’m naturally underneath you,” Hughes said, via “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.”

Mariota threw an incompletion on the play and the Titans had to settle for one of Ryan Succop‘s four field goals. Hughes said he spoke to referee Tony Corrente, who flagged Packers linebacker Clay Matthews for a much-discussed roughing penalty earlier this year, about what to do in the future.

“I spoke to the white hat and he just told me just to wrap up and drive him backwards and they’ll blow the whistle and mark his forward progress,” Hughes said. “Now I know for the future. I found myself in a very vulnerable position and what do you do? Do you finish the tackle or just hold onto him? Now I know.”

Hughes did come up with a sack later in the game that forced the Titans to kick another field goal on their way to a 13-12 loss.

11 responses to “Jerry Hughes was worried about roughing Marcus Mariota, so he let him go

  1. I like Jerry Hughes because he’s a good player and also him and the Bills sent us wings after Bengals sent them to the playoffs BUT he has to evolve with the game. Its the rules and it is what it is

  2. Jerry has Mariota dead to rights, if you want to protect the QB so bad, what Jerry has there was sufficient to blow the play dead immediately. I’m telling you, a team is going to get burned on either a roughing call, or a play like Jerry’s where the guy tried to do the right thing, and the NFL is going to look awfully stupid. This will rear its ugly head in the postseason, you just watch.

  3. Titans fan here…

    This was pathetic, how the league has turned. He’s right, he had MM wrapped up and you could tell he only let up because of the stupid rules. I’d rather my QB be taken down for the sack and my formerly favorite game not be ruined by dumb rules.

  4. Jerry has come a long way. He used to be the guy teams would taunt because he would get the unsportsmanlike penalty.
    Now he’s playing with kid gloves.
    Play should have been called dead as soon as he wrapped him up. – sad
    OR Jerry should just tackle him with has much urgency as possible so the QB also can’t try to throw it away – penalty

  5. Given the status of the game at that time it was a smart move. The sad part is that he had to do that! Now QBs won’t get sacked bc they are so protected. Really. Come on! How is that fair. If the play connected and turned out to be a winning TD how would that have been a legit game in the eyes of anyone. And you can tell he also thought it would be blown dead.

  6. I do NOT give Jerry Hughes any benefit of the doubt here. He already has several clean sacks on the season. He should have known theyd blow forward progress. And even if he didnt, he has several clean sacks this season by twisting the QB down next to him so he doesnt land with body weight.

    You dont get to say you dont know what to do when youve been doing it for a month.

    And another thing, even if his story is the case, the absolute last thing you do is just let the guy go and keep playing before the whistle.

  7. hughs must be very stupid. there is no rule that says you cant tackle the quarterback. i dont think he is stupid though. i think he missed the tackle and this is just another of his lame excuses.

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