Pass Routes 101

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Updated: July 9, 2013

In this X’s and O’s breakdown breakdown we take a look at some of the more common passing routes that you will find throughout football video games such as Madden and NCAA. Every passing concept and route combination has some sort of passing route.  Some passing routes work better than others vs certain types of pass coverages.

Receiver Pass Routes

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Running Back Pass Routes

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Tight End Pass Routes

 

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Common Passing Routes

Angle

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Halfbacks and fullbacks run this route of the backfield. The back starts off by going towards the outside, and then angles back towards the middle of the field. The angle route is effective  against man coverage if the back has more speed than the defender covering him. It also works against zone coverage by having another receiver run a route over the top such as slant or in route.

Bubble

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The receiver takes one step back and then runs Horizontally with his eyes on the QB waiting for the throw, he then catches it and runs up field. Effective route Vs the blitz and soft zone coverage. If a blitz is called, and defender covering him man coverage is playing off, throw quickly to the receiver. All it takes is for the receiver to break one tackle for a big play.

Corner

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The receiver runs straight downfield and then towards the corner of the end zone. It’s a good pass route to beat Cover 2 if the cornerbacks play in the short or flat zone area. Against man coverage, it can be effective, but you need to take contrtol of the receiver.

Curl

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The receiver runs up the field about 8-10 yards and then curls back towards the quarterback. Effective pass route against man and zone coverage.  If throw right, the receiver can be taken control of to make a high leaping catch.

Deep Cross

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The receiver run 12-15 yards and rounds his route across the field. A very effective pass route against man coverage, especially if the receiver has more speed than the defender covering him.

Deep Comeback

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A good pass route to beat man or soft zone coverage. The receiver runs straight downfield for 15–20 yards and then hooks back in or out towards the quarterback.

Deep In

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The receiver runs downfield for 10–15 yards and then cuts towards the middle of the field. This is a good route to beat underneath coverage.

Deep Out

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A good pass route to beat soft zone coverage such as Cover 4. The receiver runs 10–15 yards and then cuts in at a 90-degree angle towards the sideline.

Delay

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This type of routes have the tight end, or runningback delay before going out on their pass route. The reason they delay is because they look like they are pass blocking. In some cases such as when a blitz is called on their side of the ball, they won’t even go out. Routes such seam, flat, or curl are the types of delay routes you will find in the game. Delay routes are indicated by them being blue. Any tight end or runningback cannot be sent in motion when running a delay route. These type of routes are effective against man and zone coverage,

Dig

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The receiver drives down the field, then cuts over the middle. This is a good route to call against man coverage. If the defense plays zone coverage, the receiver must be in front of the coverage to be successful.

Fade

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The receiver will try to avoid the cornerback by taking an outside release. This route is effective against bump-n-run. Use a touch pass here.

Flat

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As the route name indicates, the receiver runs towards the flat. A good route to beat soft zone coverage. Can be effective route against man coverage if the receiver has the speed and acceleration to gain separation.

Go

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Pretty much same as a streak as the receiver runs straight up the field. The one difference is the receiver will fade towards the sideline at the in of his route.  A good route to call to if want to learn to user catch, such as the rocket catch or jet pack.

Hitch

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A good pass route to beat man coverage. The receiver runs straight down field for 3–5 yards and then comes back to the quarterback.

In -n –Up

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Has the receiver looking like he is running an in route and then breaking up straight up the field.  If man coverage is called, throw the ball just as the receiver is breaking inside for best results.

Option

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Option routes have receivers running one primary route and one or two secondary pass routes during the same play. There are not as many option routes in the playbooks as years past.  The receiver chooses what he thinks the best route is based on the pass coverage. However he doesn’t always choose the correct route.

Out-n-Up

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is is very effective against zone coverage as the receiver breaks towards the side line as he is running and out route, then quickly breaks straight up the field. Also can be effective if the receiver has speed against man coverage.

Post

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The receiver runs downfield for 10–15 yards and then cuts toward the post. This is a good pass route to beat Cover 2. Look for the receiver cutting towards the middle. As soon as you see the safeties split, rifle the football.

Quick Out

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A good pass route to beat soft zones or man coverage. The receiver runs straight downfield for 3–5 yards and then cuts at a 90-degree angle towards the sidelines.

Screen

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Screen routes can be run with the any elgible receiver in the line up. The two most common screens are HB Slip Screen and WR Screen. USe screens to beat the blitz, in particulary zone blitz concepts.

Shallow Cross

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The receiver runs 3–5 yards and then cuts across the middle of the field looking for the ball. The cross is effective against man coverage. The drag route wors the same as the shallow cros.

Shake

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A highly effective pass route against man coverage. The receiver makes a few sudden cuts before finally breaking towards the middle. It during those sudden cuts, he generally gains separation from the man covering him.

Slant

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A good pass route to beat the blitz man or zone coverage is called.. If timed right it’s almost impossible to stop. The receiver runs straight downfield for 3–5 yards and then slants 45 degrees. This is one of our favorites.

Sluggo

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The sluggo pass route is found in its share of playbooks. Just like the shake route, it’s generally only found in one or two formations. It’s best run against players who like to call Cover 0 or Cover 1 coverages.

Smash

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The receiver starts his route to the sideline and then cuts back towards the middle. It looks like a Z. This route can also be run towards the middle of the field and then cut back towards the sideline. It’s effective against man coverage.

Spot

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This route has the receiver running slant initially then hooking back towards the quarterback about 4 to 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. Route is effective against man or zone coverage. If man coverage is called, throw to the receiver before he hooks back towards the quarterback. If zone coverage is called, the ball can be throw  before or after the receiver sits underneath the zone coverage.

Streak

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The receiver runs straight down the field as fast as he can in hopes that he can outrun the cornerback. This is a good route if you have a receiver who’s faster than the defender covering him with no over the top coverage. Route can also be effective in zone coverage if the receiver has the speed and acceleration to past the deep coverage.

Stick

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The receiver runs a straight up the field 3-4 yards and turn in our outwards backs towards the quarterback. Highly effective pass route that beats zone coverage or blitz.

Stop-n-Go

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The receiver will run straight down the field for about 7 yards.  At this point, he will stop and turn back towards the quarterback as if he is running a curl route. He then will turn around and run straight up the field. An effective pass route against zone coverage with a receiver in the slot receiver running a streak, while the outside receiver runs the Stop-n-Go. If man coverage is called, can be effective but receiver needs more speed and acceleration than the defenders covering him has.

Swing

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The runnintback runs at 90 degree angle straight towards the slide lines then rounds his ways up. Effective route against man coverage if the back faster than the defender covering him. Excellent dump off route to beat the blitz.

Whip

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The Whip routes also know as Pivot has the receiver running to 2 or 3 yards as in a shallow or quick inside route, then stop and “pivot” back towards the sideline. Effective pass route to beat man coverage.

Wheel

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The receiver starts out rounding out towards the sideline. Once to side line, he then breaks up the field. An effective route against both man and zone coverage. Really effective if a runningback  runs it out of the backfield. Against zone coverage, it’s effective if the outside receiver on same side runs a post or dig route.

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10 Comments

  1. Marcus

    April 19, 2012 at 2:41 am

    This is good info. The only route I would say is missing is the Mini Corner Post. It is geat against man. An example of it is Ace 4wr Trips – WR Post Corner. The slot receiver is running it.

  2. Leandro

    October 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

    what’s the best route (or play) against a high overrall db in a man coverage ?

    • Xs Os Staff

      October 10, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Leandro , I like pass routes that have double moves. Look for plays with the words “shake” in them. They are pretty effective at beating man coverage. Also whip (zig zag) routes are pretty effective.

      Kobra

    • lamp

      August 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

      consider rub combinations one that works for us is trips rt 332 X, Y slants, H out, or same formation 974 post corner smash drag

  3. Ferreal

    February 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Thanks for the post but all the images’ links are broken which cannot be viewed. Could you please fix it?

    • Xs Os Staff

      February 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Ferreal, thanks for catching the missing images. They are now fixed.

      X’s O’s Staff

      • Ferreal

        February 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm

        Thanks for fixing it but is the wide receiver route tree exactly the same with the tight end’s one?

        • Xs Os Staff

          February 22, 2013 at 11:24 am

          Sorry about that, it’s fixed.

          Thanks,
          X’s O’s Staff

  4. Bobby

    November 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Good stuff here. Is the zig route in Madden 25 more like a smash or a pivot route?

  5. Pingback: San Diego Chargers First Team Offense Impressive Against 49ers

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