SECTION 7 — LATERAL PASSES
A lateral pass is always a component part of the play and is an extension of the original play type. The only laterals that are recorded are those that occur:
After a rushing attempt or forward pass has been completed where the ball is advanced across the LOS,
Note: Pitchouts, handoffs and other laterals behind the line of scrimmage are not recorded as laterals.
- Laterals on returns of punts, kickoffs, missed field goals/converts, pass interceptions or fumbles.
Primary examples for a lateral:
- Player A1 catches a forward pass for a gain of 10 yards then laterals to A2 who goes for 12 more yards. A1 is credited with a pass caught and 10 yards gained. A2 is not credited with a catch but is credited with 12 yards gained. The passer is credited with a completed pass and 22 yards gained.
- A1 takes a lateral from the quarterback and crosses the line of scrimmage for a gain of 10 yards, then laterals to A2 who gains another 25 yards. Player A1 is charged with a carry and credited with 10 yards gained rushing. A2 is not charged with a carry but is credited with 25 rushing yards. NOTE: The gain made by A2 starts only when reaching the line where A1 made the pass. If in Example 2 above, A1 made 10 yards then passed backward to A2 who was only able to advance within one yard of where A1 lateraled the ball from, the net gain would be 9 yards all of which should be credited to A1. A2 will NOT be charged with a one-yard loss.
- Lateral passes that result in a loose ball are scored as fumbles and yards lost are charged against the player who, in the statistician’s opinion, was responsible for the failure of the pass. This includes a player who laterals a ball Out of Bounds.
- Intercepted lateral passes are scored as fumbles and the player is charged with a fumble lost.