An offensive attempt to advance the ball via a forward pass from one player to another. Usually, the player attempting the pass will be the quarterback, and he will have a variety of potential receivers running designated routes in front of him in an attempt to elude the defense and find an open area into which the quarterback can deliver the ball. These potential receivers can include running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. During a passing play, the defense will attempt to rush the quarterback to attempt to force him into a mistake, and the offensive line will attempt to protect him.
Passing plays are a staple of any good offense. It is considered to be slightly higher-risk, higher-reward than a running play since it can result in a greater amount of yardage being gained, but can also result in a sack or an interception. After the snap, the receivers will run downfield along routes that the play has called for. If run well, these routes can cause one or more receivers to come open, and give the quarterback a good target for a successful pass. An unsuccessful passing play can result in an incompletion, sack, or interception.