A tactic used by the defense in order to either sack the quarterback or force the quarterback into a mistake. A pass rush usually consists of the defensive linemen, and may include a linebacker or defensive back. The pass rush attempts to elude the offensive line, which tries to create a protective area around the quarterback by blocking.
A defense will use a pass rush for a variety of reasons. A good pass rush limits the amount of time the quarterback has to attempt a pass, and can result in a sack of the quarterback. A standard pass rush involved four players. The defensive linemen are the most common pass rushers, and may use several different techniques to elude the offensive linemen, ranging from speed rushes around the outside to outrun the lineman to bull rushes that overpower a lineman. Teams may also choose to bring extra pass rushers in what is called a "blitz". It is a high-risk, high reward strategy that can result in more pressure on the quarterback, but leaves less players in pass coverage protecting against a completion. Teams can also choose to rush less than four players, allowing the quarterback more time to pass, but leaving more players to guard the downfield receivers.