If the offense is confident the defensive line is going to rush the quarterback on a passing play, would it be effective as a trick play for the offensive line to lie down after the snap?

The idea being the defensive ends and tackles would be expecting resistance and thus be momentarily thrown off balance (or even fall down). Or would the defense simply walk over the prone offensive linemen?

BTW I realize this tactic would in no way counter the linebackers, but at the least it could reduce some of the pressure on the QB if played effectively.


No No that is just crazy. If your offensive line laid down that might be the last snap your QB plays. When my oldest son was playing pee-wee football he was so fast and low off the ball (smallest kid on the team) that no one could block him.

Several refs asked me to take him out of the game after we were up by 30 or so but the offenses weren't even functional with just him. He hurt some quarterbacks and runningbacks since he is full speed and they are in a vulnerable position and not really moving (that is what teams get for not being able to put a fullback in front in a power set).

What you are suggesting is pure crazy. It is having 4-5 guys running full steam into your quarterback. They aren't off balance - at all. Like telling the goalie to turn his back to the ball to confuse the other team.

  • Perhaps if the offensive line didn't completely lie down, but rather fell into a crouch - sort of a passive cut block, so that the defensive line tripped over them, in order to delay the rush and open up lanes. But don't know if that's legal. – RobertF Dec 31 '16 at 5:43
  • @RobertF - I am all for innovation and even far fetched speculation. However... your idea of laying down is just awful - sorry. One thing I forgot to mention about my son in the answer - he tackled the first person he thought had the ball (and he wasn't a good guesser). So I could roll a highilight tape 10 minutes long of him tackling the wrong guy 3 yards plus behind the line. So not is your idea really bad but it would lead to injuries with everyone in the backfield. – Coach-D Dec 31 '16 at 6:37

Allowing defensive lines through easily is a way to use their own aggressiveness against them. It's a common way to start a screen pass play.

Or you could take it to an extreme and not even attempt a block:


In short, yes, it could be done. But lying down completely makes it hard for the linemen to participate further in the play, so it's unlikely anyone would try it in a real game.

  • Thanks Michael - although the youtube video seems to reinforce the view that the defensive line would just sidestep a prone offense. – RobertF Jan 2 '17 at 4:44

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