A play-action pass (also known as a play fake or simply "play-action") is an American football play. The play action starts with what appears to be a running play, but turns out to be a pass play; in this way, it can be considered the opposite of a draw play. Play-action passes are often used against defenses that are focused on stopping the run. By initially simulating a running play, the offense attempts to deceive the defense into acting on the fake run placing them out of position in their pass coverage, and giving receivers more time and room to be free to receive passes behind the linebackers.
Despite being one of the most effective kinds of plays, the play-action pass is not proportionately used. The belief is that a heavy running game must be maintained, but in fact even teams who heavily lean on passes have high success with the play-action.