If a receiver makes a jumping sideline catch, I take it, it's legal for a defender to push him out of bounds, once the catch is made.

What if the defender catches the receiver before he got both feet on the ground and carries him a few yards to drop him out of bounds. Where would the boundary be for this to be illegal?

  • I am relatively sure a rule exists against this. Vaguely speaking, you can move an opponent ball-carrier in a tackle as a part of natural momentum, but you can't force them to move if they have the option of stopping.
    – Nij
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


It is legal to catch/carry a receiver out-of-bounds, in the sense that no flag is thrown for a foul, however the pass would be considered completed (or intercepted in the case for the defence).

This is covered in the NFL Rulebook under Rule 8 - Section 1 - Article 3




  1. If a player, who is in possession of the ball, is held up and carried out of bounds by an opponent before both feet or any part of his body other than his hands touches the ground inbounds, it is a completed or intercepted pass. It is not necessary for the player to maintain control of the ball when he lands out of bounds.
  • 1
    Wow, they really have rules for everything...
    – treuss
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 12:37

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