In a must-win game against the Dolphins in Week 17, Jerry Hughes busted out of his slump.
Through the first six games of 2017, he registered 28 quarterback pressures (three sacks, seven hits, 18 hurries) on 190 pass-rushing snaps. In his next nine contests, leading into the regular-season finale, he generated just 10 quarterback pressures (one sack, two hits, seven hurries) on 229 pass-rush snaps.
In Miami on Sunday, Hughes exploded with seven quarterback pressures (seven hurries) on 36 attempts rushing the passer.
With starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil out with an injury, the Dolphins started Zach Sterup, an former undrafted free agent who entered the league in 2016. He had only taken four snaps – all at right tackle – this season for Miami before his matchup with Hughes in Week 17.
Hughes' seven-pressure performance tied for the second-most he's had in a single game since joining the Bills in 2013. He had one other seven-pressure game this season... in Week 3 against the Broncos.
Clearly, Hughes was at an advantage against a young, inexperienced left tackle who wasn't drafted. And he didn't squander that opportunity.
His effort against the Dolphins led to the highest Pro Football Focus pass-rushing grade for a single game thus far in his tenure with Buffalo.
In the playoffs, Hughes will square off against rookie Cam Robinson. The Jaguars left tackle finished the regular season with the third-lowest overall grade among 87 qualifying offensive tackles. He allowed 41 quarterback pressures (two sacks, 12 hits, 27 hurries) on 454 pass-blocking snaps in the regular season, which equated to a Pass-Blocking Efficiency score of 93.1, the 61st-best score out of 81 qualifiers at his position.
(Grades and stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus.)