A batted pass in football refers to a pass from the quarterback that is swatted out of the air by a player near the line of scrimmage. Batted passes are considered an incomplete pass unless it is caught by a defender.
Batted passes are an often underrated play in football as they can be great momentum killers against an offense.
They are also one of the reasons why football scouts tend to prefer taller quarterbacks.
Shorter quarterbacks have more difficulty raising the ball over the line of scrimmage due to their height. This makes their number of batted balls higher than the average taller quarterback.
How Defenders Batt Passes
When it comes to batting passes in the NFL there is little luck involved. Players using this technique to stop the offense must effectively time their jump and correctly guess the trajectory of the pass.
Watching the QB
Keeping an eye on the quarterback is the easiest way in which to batt a pass. You may notice that if a pass rusher does not beat his lineman he may settle into his location and began preparing to block a pass.
To do this the defender will stop pas rushing and instead have his head turned towards the quarterback’s location. Once the quarterback starts a throwing motion the lineman will jump with his hands up in order to stop the pass.
Diagnosing The Play
Another way in which defenders batt passes is by diagnosing the offense’s play. Often times batted passes occur after a quick throw. These quick passing plays like screens or slants are often read by the defenders.
Knowing where a ball is going allows you as a lineman to know where to go in order to bat the ball. The quick passing concept also allows the defender to guess the timing.
If they know the ball is coming out after a three-step drop then they know they likely aren’t getting a sack and should focus on getting in the way of the pass.
Can Anyone Catch A Batted Pass?
Yes, once the ball is batted by a defensive player anyone on the field is eligible to catch it. If any defender catches a batted pass it is ruled an interception. If a ball is batted by a defender all ineligible players on the offense are now able to catch the ball.
Since batted passes are almost always going forward this means if the quarterback catches it he can not throw the ball again. As a team is only allowed one forward throw per play.
Additionally, if a pass is travelling backwards is batted it is a lateral and therefore is considered a fumble. This means that any player who grabs the ball before or after it hits the ground will assume possession of it.