A situation in football where a team is faced with need to generate significant yards, typically more than 6 yard, to get a first down on their third down. Generally, teams will punt the football on the fourth down so third-and-long situations require the team to generate the yards needed on that single play, which limits the play options.
When a third-and-long is needed a pass play could result. One play that if successfully executed will allow the offensive team to gain long distance they need to meet the 10 yards required for the first down. This play is the known as a draw play. This play is about deception and if done right will have the defense preparing to intercept a pass from the quarterback to the receiver. However instead of throwing the ball to one of the receivers the quarterback will hand the ball off to the running back. Because the defense is prepared to defend against a pass the running back has the element of surprise and thus can gain the yards needed.