What Is A Bullet Pass In Football? Terminology

A bullet pass in football refers to a forward pass travelling at a high speed that features little to no arch in the balls flight path. In other words, this pass gets to a receiver quickly and does not go very high.

Bullet passes are often used by quarterbacks to get the ball to an open receiver in a short amount of time. The name bullet pass originates from shooting a bullet from a gun. As the flight path of a bullet has little drop off due to the speed the ball is travelling at.

When Do You Want To Throw A Bullet Pass In Football?

Now that you know what a bullet pass is in football you may be wondering when these throws are used. Below we will break down three separate occasions in which a bullet pass is the best option for the quarterback.

Throwing Underneath Coverage

One occasion in which bullet passes are often used is when throwing underneath coverage. Throwing underneath coverage means that there are defensive players further down the field in pass coverage.

When throwing underneath the players in the secondary will move towards the intended target the second the ball is thrown.

If you were to throw a lob pass at this point in time you may find that the defenders are able to get to the intended receiver. This could result in a pass break up or worse an interception.

In order to get this pass to the receiver, you want to throw a bullet pass. Since the receiver is underneath the coverage you will not have to lob the ball over any defenders.

Instead, you can throw the ball directly at the receiver with velocity. This will allow the secondary less time to get to the receiver.

YAC Opportunities

Another situation in which a bullet pass may come in handy occurs in YAC opportunities. YAC stands for yards after catch and refers to plays in which a receiver can gain yards after catching the ball.

On these plays you want the ball to get to the receiver as fast as possible. As a slow pass would allow defenders to get into position to tackle the ball carrier.

Examples of YAC opportunities occur on screenplays or crossing routes. By hitting your receiver quickly you may allow him an extra second to find a hole in the defense and pick up some extra yards.

Finding A Hole In Zone

Another reason in which you may find a bullet pass effective is when playing against zone coverage. Zone coverage works by covering various areas of the field instead of covering specific players.

When playing against a zone defense the quarterback is going to be looking for holes in between the zones. If a receiver can get into one of these holes then the quarterback will pass him the ball before the defenders get there.

By throwing a bullet pass you will increase the odds of hitting the receiver before the defense adjusts. If a lob pass were thrown defenders could simply abandon their zone and go for the ball.

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