What Is A Blitz In Football – Terminology

A blitz in football is a play in which the defense focuses on pressuring the quarterback by sending more defenders than the quarterback has blockers. The goal of a blitz is to either tackle the quarterback or pressure him to the point in which he is forced to make a bad throw.

Pros And Cons Of A Blitz

Like most plays blitz have strengths and weaknesses when used in a game.



Generating sacks is one of the best benefits of a blitz. When you send extra defenders after the quarterback it can be difficult to keep them blocked. Sacking a quarterback sends the opposing team back to the location in which the quarterback was tackled.

A successful blitz that results in a sack makes it much more likely for the defence to stop the drive.

Forcing Incomplete Passes

Forcing incomplete passes is another great benefit of the blitz. When rushing the quarterback you are not always going to be able to bring him down. And if you cannot bring him down the next best thing to do is force him to make a bad throw.

This can be done by forcing the quarterback to throw on the run which is noticeably more difficult. Or force him to throw the ball away if he believes he is about to be sacked. These plays do not result in a loss of yards but they do result in a loss of down without any yards gained.

Turnover Potential

One more aspect of the sack the benefits the defense is the increased chance of turnovers on these plays. The most likely turnover to happens on these plays is a sack fumble. Quarterbacks are the most likely players on the offense to fumble when tackled.

By bringing multiple defenders to hit the quarterback you are increasing the odds a turnover is generated. Pressuring the quarterback to make difficult throws can also increase the odds of an interception occurring.


Exposed In Coverage

One negative aspect of calling a blitz in football is that you are going to be more vulnerable in coverage. The reasoning for this is simple. If you send more players after the quarterback you are going to have fewer players covering the receivers.

Though you will pressure the quarterback to throw the ball quickly you will find the opposing teams receivers will have an easier time getting open.

Screens And Draws

Screens and draws are both plays that are especially effective against a blitz. This is because both these plays involve delays that encourage pash rushers to get closer to the quarterback ultimately pulling them out of position.

A screen play for example will allow several pass rushers right through to the quarterback. Once they are close, the quarterback will toss the ball overtop of them into the wide-open space made by the defenders moving towards the quarterback.

In other words, the blitz may allow several offensive players to get past the majority of your defense by baiting them into your backfield. These plays can cause serious issues as the ball carriers are often accompanied by blockers downfield.

Why Is It Called A Blitz

The term blitz in football originated from the second world war. The German forces used the word blitzkrieg which translates to “lightning war” in english.

This term was used to describe the incredible speed and surprise tactics of the German Military. This is similar to the surprise the quarterback will feel when several players blitz on defense.

How Do You Spot A Blitz

The best way to determine if a blitz is coming is by using a hard count. A hard count in football refers to using fake audibles in order to read the defense or get them to hop offside.

A hard count uses audibles that will trick the defense into believing the play is about to start. If you are using a hardcount to identify a blitz you will realize that several players will reveal their intentions if the hard count is used effectively.

When a defensive player that is blitzing hears the hard count he will likely jump towards the line of scrimmage. This will show you which players have the intention of blitzing you on the next play. Keep in mind some players may see right through your hard count and not buy the fake.

Difference Between A Blitz And A Pass Rush

The difference between a blitz and a pash rush is that a pass rush involves any number of rushers. While a blitz refers to a pass rush that has a larger number of pass rushers than usual.

If you rush three players this is certainly not a blitz but those three players are still pash rushing. In short a pass rush can refer to the action of any players rushing the quarterback while a blitz refers to a large number of players rushing the quarterback.

Leave a Comment