The passing game in football is the ability of an offense to successfully pass the football. The modern National Football League is pass-dominant, which means that the passing game is vital to success. Passing revolves around the quarterback, who will attempt to complete throws to wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.
The offensive line is an important part of the passing game. Their job is to allow the quarterback to have as much time as possible by blocking the rushing defenders. Running backs can also help block blitzes out of the backfield.
Each team has its own unique set of passing plays in their arsenal, the challenging part is deciding when to use each one. Usually the head coach or offensive coordinator is in charge of calling the plays, but experienced quarterbacks have their fair share of input. QB's also often change the play call based on the defensive formation, known as calling an audible. Audibles are important to ensure an effective passing game.
There are many different types of plays that can be run in the passing game. Each team has different names for their combination of routes, but some plays are common among everyone. Hitches and curls are when a receiver runs a few yards before coming back to toward the line of scrimmage. Slants are self-explanatory, as the receiver will run straight before turning on a diagonal.
There are many other types of routes that make up plays in the passing game, with each receiver doing something slightly different depending on where they start on the field.
Plays are called based on the number of yards a team wants to get through the air. If they only need a few yards, they might call for short crossing routes from their wide outs. However, if a large amount of yards need to be gained, then verticals or even a hail mary might be drawn up.