A play in which the quarterback takes the snap from center and immediately ducks forward behind the middle of the offensive line with the intent of gaining a small amount of yardage. The quarterback sneak is most often used in situations where the distance required to gain a first down is one yard or less, since the play is unlikely to gain more than that.
The quarterback sneak is a common play on short yardage downs. It is considered a low-risk play because the quarterback merely has to take the snap and lean forward behind an offensive line that is bent on driving the defense back from the line of scrimmage immediately after the snap, rather than turning around to deliver a handoff to a running back and risking a fumble or loss of yardage. A defense will react to a potential sneak by attempting to clog up the line immediately after the snap, forcing the quarterback to change directions.