Top 10 Offensive Plays in Football

In football, there are hundreds of ways to put a play together. This is because there are 11 players and only seven of them have to be on the line of scrimmage before a play. This leaves five players that can be placed anywhere. The starting position that the players are in when beginning an offensive play is called their formation. A play is the movement of the players as they attempt to gain yardage. A system is made up of formations, plays and blocking schemes that together help the team gain yardage. This gives the players some variations in the plays that they typically perform. Learn 10 plays that are some of the most commonly used in football, with each team performing them in their own manner.


This play features the fullback isolated to block the linebacker where the play is being made, while the running back follows, attempting to gain yardage. The other players that are lined up along the offensive line block the player opposite them, with two players blocking one opposing player at the point of play.


For this one, at the point of attack, the defending guard is left unblocked until a backside lineman cuts him off. Meanwhile, the fullback takes the handoff from the quarterback and runs straight up the middle while the remaining players block the defense of the opposing team.


For this play, one side of the offensive bears down on the defensive line. Meanwhile, the backside guard and tackle run down the formation and lead blocking on the linebacker. The running back follows after receiving the ball.

Speed Option

In this play, the running back runs past the widest run defender while the quarterback makes a run at the same defender. This forces the defender to either chase the running back or the quarterback. The quarterback then chooses to run or to pass the ball to the running back.


For this power play, the offense blocks, double blocks and drive blocks down the defensive line, especially at the point of attack. The fullback kicks out the defensive end while the backside guard pulls and blocks the linebacker. This allows the running back to gain yardage at the point of attack.


Screens are designed to get the pass rushers to run out of play while the pass defenders cover the receivers. There are multiple ways to do this, depending on the formations and blocking schemes that make up the entire system. One way to do this is for the quarterback to fall back as though he is going to make a long throw. Several of the offenders form a spearhead shape with the receiver in the middle. Several other offenders rush, with one or two going wide as though to receive a long pass. When the defense rushes the quarterback, he simply throws the ball the short distance to the receiver in the spearhead, who then runs forward.


Shifts, like any play, have many variations depending on the formations chosen. Essentially, the players make a formation, but before the ball is snapped, the players shift into a different formation. This helps disguise their plan from the defense.


Motions are similar to shifts, but they happen after the ball is snapped. Once the players have formed a formation, the ball is snapped and immediately one or several of the players change position to create a new formation. This also helps disguise the system from the defending team.

Double Wing

For this one, the center and playside guard block the defending linemen with their inside shoulders, while the guards add to the momentum by pushing on their teammates. The playside wing guards in case any defenders break the block down the line. The quarterback then either hands off the ball or passes it.

Right Stack

For this play, the offensive linemen block the defensive linemen while the tight end and the wide receiver swing around and block on the playside. The running back then runs playside and looks to receive the ball. The quarterback either runs in the space created by the rest of the team or pitches to the running back.

About the Author

Elizabeth Gray has been writing since the age of five, but professionally since the age of 21. Her current writing gigs include article writing for Studio Anya, and playwriting for the Manhattan Repertory Theatre.