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:

  1. 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.

  2. Laterals on returns of punts, kickoffs, missed field goals/converts, pass interceptions or fumbles.
  3. Primary examples for a lateral:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Intercepted lateral passes are scored as fumbles and the player is charged with a fumble lost.


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Publication Credits

Content compiled and entered by Glen Johnson, Jeff Harbin and Andre Proulx

The CFL Official Rule Book is published annually by the Canadian Football League. Any inquiries regarding the CFL Official Playing Rules may be directed to Darren Hackwood, Director of Officiating at Any inquiries regarding CFL Statistical Scoring Rules may be directed to Steve Daniel, Director of Game Information and Head Statistician at