"That's just a boneheaded play by me," Hughes said following practice Thursday. "It just can't happen."
Hughes was referring to a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he drew in the second quarter of a 24-17 loss at Denver last weekend. Hughes was upset with a pass interference penalty on cornerback Stephon Gilmore that came on third-and-8.
The Broncos declined the pass interference penalty and instead accepted the extra yardage from Hughes' flag to give them the ball at the Buffalo 19. C.J. Anderson scored five plays later to put Denver ahead 14-3.
"It extended their drive. You've got a Hall of Fame quarterback on the road. You just don't do things like that," Hughes said. "That's just not smart football."
Trouble is, it's not the first time Hughes has lost his cool. He's now been penalized three times for arguing with officials this season.
"I've learned from my mistakes," he said. "You've got to walk away."
Hughes faces a potential fine from the NFL. And he was immediately disciplined by the team following the penalty, when he was benched for much of the second half by defensive line coach Pepper Johnson.
Coach Doug Marrone has spoken to Hughes this week about keeping his emotions in check.
"I think Jerry's an outstanding football player that plays with a lot of emotion who has to learn that he needs to control them at times," Marrone said.
Marrone was unaware of Hughes being benched, saying he was not informed by his staff during the game. He didn't find out until the team departed Denver.
Marrone said he trusts his staff to make the right decisions, but would prefer that they consult with him first.
The Bills acquired Hughes in a trade with Indianapolis in April 2013. After struggling to find a niche with the Colts, the 2010 first-round draft pick has blossomed with the Bills.
He had a career-best 10 sacks last season, and has 9 1/2 this year.
Hughes is in the final year of his contract and eligible to become a free agent this offseason.
Hughes said he's not given any thought of potentially playing his final home game with the Bills on Sunday, when Buffalo (7-6) host the Green Bay Packers.
"Gosh, I'm not going to think about anything like that," Hughes said. "We still have three more games left. That's really been the whole focus, and not really to think too far into the future."