An indirect snap is called with the intention of catching the defense off guard. It occurs when the centre snaps the ball straight to a player aside from the quarterback who is not lined up directly behind the centre.
The indirect snap usually occurs when the offense is in the shotgun formation, with the quarterback lined up five to seven yards behind the centre, with a running back standing beside him. The centre snaps the ball straight to the running back, and the quarterback fakes that the ball went over his head and pretends to jump up and run behind him for the ball. The running back takes the ball and runs forward or throws the ball to a different offensive player. This play is also used as a trick play in punting formations where the ball is snapped to one of the gunners rather than the punter.