A running play that an offense will run that attempts to give the running back a lane outside the tackle box. Sweeps are considered outside runs, and are often led by having players "pull", or run block around the outside. Sweeps are slightly higher risk than average runs, because the play can be tackled for a bigger loss since it doesn't run directly up the field.
The sweep play is the most basic run to the outside in football. The premise is to get the defense moving laterally so that the blockers can open a hole through the defense and give the running back a chance to get downfield for significant yards. A sweep play often features one or more interior lineman leaving their regular positions to block outside. This method of blocking is called "pulling". To stop a sweep from being successful, the defense must attempt to penetrate the offensive line to keep the running back from gaining momentum downfield. If the defense gets through the blockers, the play can go for a significant loss of yards.