For years, the NFL has made it very clear that their intention is to protect the quarterback. Sometimes they go to controversial lengths to do so, as the roughing the passer rule has been steadily expanded to include accidental contact to the head as well as landing on the QB with your body weight.
However, the rules governing late hits out of bounds are not controversial and are, in fact, about the most clear cut of those points of emphasis on protecting QBs. Most defenders pull up now on quarterbacks running towards the sideline, choosing to simply escort them out rather than risk a penalty. Raiders lineman Jerry Tillery is apparently not among those, as we found out on Sunday when he absolutely blew up Justin Herbert on the Chargers sideline after he had already put two feet on the white, resulting in a kerfuffle and, ultimately, an ejection for Tillery.
herbert breakin' ankles
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) October 1, 2023
Herbert makes Crosby look silly, but then Tillery decides to get dirty: pic.twitter.com/YHGblW1tdz
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) October 1, 2023
Herbert popped up and was fine, but this is about as bad of a late hit as you’ll see these days given how defenders have been conditioned to treat these situations. The Chargers would naturally score shortly after on a Herbert to Keenan Allen touchdown pass to take advantage of the extra 15 yards of field position.