3rd Down Passing Game

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Quarterbacks, offensive coordinators, and head coaches all have one down in common that makes them great or awful, 3rd down. 3rd down is one of the most important things in the flow of a football game. The difference between your defense having more rest time and running back on the field tired. The difference between bleeding more clock and scoring points or stopping and punting it back to the other team. In this post we will walk through three 3rd down passing plays by distance.


Mesh Bullets

3rd and short (2-3 yards)

[Mesh Bullets PDF Download]

  • Formation: Bunch Right (Left) Gun
  • Protection: Ghost Left (Right)
  • Play: Mesh Bullets

This quick passing game from shotgun is designed to take advantage of both man to man and zone coverage. You have the mesh built in to pick opposing players as well as the zone sit-down options for the Y and the X. If the situation dictates you also have a shot play outside with the T and the F on the bullet routes.

Thunder X Select

3rd and medium (2-6 yards)  

[Thunder X Select PDF Download]

  • Formation: Trips¬†Right (Left) Gun
  • Protection: Scat Right (Left)
  • Play: Thunder X Select

This rhythm passing game from the shotgun will help take advantage of zone coverage with man principles built in. The X-Select backside is always a good one on one match up at any level of football and the Thunder concept front side is one of my favorites. This play also has a 3rd down blitz beater in the Y corner and the X on the fade.

Deep Sticky X Dig3rd and long (4-10+ yards)

[Deep Sticky X Dig PDF Download]

  • Formation: Trips Right (Left) Tox Gun
  • Protection: Ghost Right (Left)
  • Play: Deep Sticky X Dig

This intermediate pass game is designed to take advantage of 3rd and long situations. It is meant to get as many disguises out of the box by going empty to give your QB a clear picture. Whether you are dealing with elite level pro athletes or youth players having an empty set can sometimes clear up the picture for the quarterback forcing the defense into either blitz six or drop eight.

That wraps up our 3rd down passing post by distance. Be sure to study not only the passing plays but the protections so that you see where the strengths and weakness are in each play. There are PDF downloadable documents for each of these so you can print them off and easily install with your team. Please be sure to comment below any situations you would like to see or any questions you have. You can also contact the site by clicking the top bar contact button!



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