I was watching an NFL game weekend before last (sorry, I forget which one… maybe the Colts were involved?) and a receiver caught the ball near the middle of the field in a two-minute drill situation. The receiver immediately headed for the sideline to stop the clock. He made it, but had to shake off a tackle or two and it took at least five seconds. All in all, a smart play, IMO.
But suppose the receiver caught the ball, looked upfield, saw three defenders barreling towards him, and then saw two DBs guarding the sideline. Could he take the ball and throw it out of bounds? If he throws it backwards, there’s no illegal forward pass penalty, and if he makes sure to really huck it so there’s no chance a defender will get it, his team will retain possession. Does the clock stop in such a situation?
What about in college football? Obviously, there’s less of a need, with the clock stopping for a first down, but I could imagine it being useful for a reception picking up 15 yards on a 2nd-and-forever.
I think the issue of whether it’s a smart play is a separate one – he might fumble the ball in his hurry to throw it, he might accidentally throw it forward, he might float a duck that gets picked off, etc. I just want to know if it’s legal.