On defense in American football, a pass rush is charging across the line of scrimmage towards the quarterback in an effort to stop or "sack" them.The purpose is tackling, hurrying or flushing the quarterback out of their protective pocket or the play's design.
"Pressures" and "hurries" are terms used to describe pass rushes which successfully alter a quarterback's performance on a play - forcing them to throw before they find their best target or scramble out of the pocket to elude being tackled - that fall short of completed sacks.
A related form of defensive rush is to disrupt or sack a kicker attempting to kick a field goal, extra point, or punt the ball. On offense, "rushing" is to run forward with the ball to gain yardage.
In both college and professional football, getting a strong pass rush is an important skill, as even an average quarterback can be productive if he has enough time to find an open receiver, even against a good secondary. To increase pressure, teams will sometimes use a pass-rushing specialist, who is usually a quick, strong defensive end or outside linebacker tasked with aggressively rushing the quarterback in obvious passing situations.
One of the most effective methods of rushing the passer is by using a stunt or twist, which is when defensive players quickly change positions at the snap of the ball and engage a different blocker than the offense expected,Defenses typically task three or four defensive lineman to rush the passer on most plays, but most will occasionally increase pressure by blitzing one or more non-lineman at the quarterback when a pass play is anticipated.
A pass rush can be effective even if it does not sack the quarterback if it forces the passer to get rid of the ball before he wanted to, resulting in an incomplete pass or interception. To attack a strong pass rush, offenses can throw quicker short passes or run draw plays or screen passes, which are design to lure defenders into the offensive backfield and then quickly get a ball carrier behind them.
A pass rush has gained increasing importance in the game as it has evolved from a run-only offense to one that relies ever more heavily on the forward pass for gaining yardage and scoring points. Exceptional pass rushers began to gain widespread media attention starting in the 1960s. Longtime Los Angeles Ram defensive end Deacon Jones is credited with coining the term "sack", and historically attributed with 173 1/2 sacks, which would rank him #3 all-time behind all-time leader Bruce Smith (with 200) and Reggie White (198) had they been counted as an official statistic during his career.The single-season record is 22 1/2, held by Michael Strahan and T. J. Watt.
Other formidable historic pass rushers include Lawrence Taylor (#16, 132 1/2), the highest ranking pure linebacker, and Jim Katcavage, NFL leader in 1962 and 1963, a defensive tackle. The active leader (as of 2021) is outside linebacker/defensive end Von Miller with 110 1/2. Other notable active players include two-time sack leader and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J. J. Watt, a defensive end (#32, 102); three-time Defensive Player of the Year and 2018 season leader Aaron Donald, a defensive tackle; and 2020 and current 2021 leader T. J. Watt, J. J.'s brother, a defensive end.
A running back (RB) is a member of the offensive backfield in gridiron football. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback to rush the ball, to line up as a receiver to catch the ball, and block. There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback, a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.
In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the team currently in possession of the ball are the offensive line, while linemen on the opposing team are the defensive line. A number of NFL rules specifically address restrictions and requirements for the offensive line, whose job is to help protect the quarterback from getting sacked for a loss, or worse, fumbling. The defensive line is covered by the same rules that apply to all defensive players. Linemen are usually the largest players on the field in both height and weight, since their positions usually require less running and more strength than skill positions.
A linebacker is a playing position in gridiron football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage and behind the defensive linemen. They represent the "middle ground" of defenders, playing closer to the line of scrimmage than do the defensive backs, but farther back than do the defensive linemen.
In ball-playing competitive team sports, an interception or pick is a move by a player involving a pass of the ball—whether by foot or hand, depending on the rules of the sport—in which the ball is intended for a player of the same team but caught by a player of the team on defense, who thereby usually gains possession of the ball for their team. It is commonly seen in football, including American and Canadian football, as well as association football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, as well as any sport by which a loose object is passed between players toward a goal. In basketball, a pick is called a steal.
In gridiron football, a sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass, when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage in the "pocket" and his intent is unclear, or when a passer runs out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage due to defensive pressure. This often occurs if the opposing team's defensive line, linebackers or defensive backs are able to apply pass pressure to quickly get past blocking players of the offensive team, or if the quarterback is unable to find a back to hand the ball off to or an available eligible receiver to catch the ball, allowing the defense a longer opportunity to tackle the quarterback.
Julius Frazier Peppers is a former American football defensive end. He played college football at North Carolina, where he was recognized as a unanimous All-American, and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers second overall in the 2002 NFL Draft, and also played for the Chicago Bears from 2010 through 2013 and the Green Bay Packers from 2014 to 2016. After rejoining the Panthers for the 2017 season, he retired after the 2018 NFL season.
In gridiron football, blitzing is a tactic used by the defense to disrupt pass attempts by the offense. During a blitz, a higher than usual number of defensive players will rush the opposing quarterback, in an attempt either to tackle him or force him to hurry his pass attempt.
Strategy forms a major part of American football. Both teams plan many aspects of their plays (offense) and response to plays (defense), such as what formations they take, who they put on the field, and the roles and instructions each player are given. Throughout a game, each team adapts to the other's apparent strengths and weaknesses, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent in order to win the game.
DeMarcus Omar Ware is a former American football outside linebacker and defensive end. He played college football at Troy University and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. After spending nine seasons with the Cowboys, Ware departed in 2013 as the franchise's all-time leader in quarterback sacks with 117. Ware then played three seasons for the Denver Broncos, with whom he won Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers. After the 2016 season with the Broncos, he announced his retirement from the NFL. In 2017, he signed a one-day contract with Dallas to retire as a Cowboy. In 2018, the Broncos hired Ware as a pass-rush consultant.
In American football, a zone blitz is a defensive tactic that sends additional players to rush the opposing team's quarterback, whilst also unexpectedly redirecting a supposed pass rushing player into pass coverage instead. This tactic also likely includes zone coverage.
A trick play, also known as a gadget play, gimmick play or trickeration, is a play in gridiron football that uses deception and unorthodox tactics to fool the opposing team. A trick play is often risky, offering the potential for a large gain or a touchdown if it is successful, but with the chance of a significant loss of yards or a turnover if not. Trick plays are rarely used not only because of the riskiness, but also to maintain the element of surprise for when they are used.
Maynard C. "Duke" Pettijohn is a former American Arena football defensive lineman. He was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He played college football at Syracuse and was a two-time member of the All-Big East team.
A halfback (HB) is an offensive position in American football, whose duties involve lining up in the backfield and carrying the ball on most rushing plays, i.e. a running back. When the principal ball carrier lines up deep in the backfield, and especially when that player is placed behind another player, as in the I formation, that player is instead referred to as a tailback.
In American football, the specific role that a player takes on the field is referred to as their "position". Under the modern rules of American football, both teams are allowed 11 players on the field at one time and have "unlimited free substitutions", meaning that they may change any number of players during any "dead ball" situation. This has resulted in the development of three task-specific "platoons" of players within any single team: the offense, the defense, and the so-called 'special teams'. Within these three separate "platoons", various positions exist depending on the jobs that the players are doing.
Kamerion Wimbley is a former American football outside linebacker and defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft with the 13th overall pick. He also played for the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans before retiring in 2015. He played college football at Florida State University.
In American football, a play is a close-to-the-ground plan of action or strategy used to move the ball down the field. A play begins at either the snap from the center or at kickoff. Most commonly, plays occur at the snap during a down. These plays range from basic to very intricate. Football players keep a record of these plays in a playbook.
In American football, a 4–3 defense is a defensive alignment consisting of four down linemen and three linebackers. It is called a "base defense" because it is the default defensive alignment used on "base downs". However, defenses will readily switch to other defensive alignments as circumstances change. Alternatively, some defenses use a 3–4 defense.
The 1990 Buffalo Bills season was the 31st for the franchise and the 21st in the National Football League. The team finished the year with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses, and first in the American Football Conference (AFC) East division. They were 8–0 at home for the second time in their franchise history. On the road, the Bills were 5–3. Buffalo qualified for their first Super Bowl appearance.
The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.