A touch pass in football refers to a forward pass from the quarterback that travels at a slow speed and usually has a high arching flight path. In other words, this pass will travel high and slowly toward the intended receiver.
Touch passes in football are most often used when trying to hit a receiver for an over-the-shoulder catch. These passes require finesse and can easily be intercepted if thrown at the wrong time.
If you want to learn about other styles of passes learn how a quarterback can legally throw a bounce pass.
When To Throw A Touch Pass In Football
Now that we have established what a touch pass is in football it’s time we break down when these sorts of passes should be used. Below we are going to cover three different scenarios in which touch passes will benefit a football team.
Throwing Over Top Of The Coverage
One occasion in which a touch pass will come in handy is when throwing over the top of coverage. This means throwing the ball beyond the defenders that are in pass coverage.
An example of this could be seen on a wheel route. Say the running back takes off from the backfield and begins running down the sideline. These routes are usually covered by a linebacker running alongside the running back.
The defender in these situations is typically looking at the running back (facing away from the quarterback). Throwing a bullet pass in this situation is likely going to be broken up by the defender as he is in between the quarterback and the receiver.
By throwing a touch pass the quarterback can lop the ball overtop the defender and since he is facing the other direction he will not see it coming. If done correctly this will result in an easy catch for the running back.
Fitting Into A Hole In Coverage
On some plays, you may find that the open receiver is somewhere in between the front seven and the secondary. This means they have gotten past the defensive line and linebackers but have yet to get to the cornerbacks and safeties, this results in a great opportunity to throw a touch pass.
In this situation, you are going to want to fit the ball into this hole in coverage. Since there are several players in between the quarterback and the receiver a touch pass will be needed.
The touch pass will have to be performed with accuracy, as a short pass or long one will have a fair chance of being intercepted.
When fitting a touch pass like this in-between coverage you will likely not get many yards after the catch but you should have a good chance at completing the pass.
Lobbing Over A Lineman
Another reason that touch passes are is due to defensive lineman. On some occasions, defensive linemen are going to get into the quarterbacks face. If he believes he has an open receiver the quarterback may attempt to lob this pass over the lineman.
Defensive linemen are very skilled at batting passes meaning the quarterback needs to keep the ball out of their reach. To do this a quarterback may throw a touch pass over top of the lineman to a player in the flat.
These sorts of passes do not tend to pick up a ton of yardage as the speed of the pass allows defender to run towards the ball carrier.
That being said an attempt at a regular pass would likely be batted down for an incompletion.