In gridiron football, a reception, also known informally as a catch, is part of a passing play in which a player in bounds successfully catches (receives) a forward pass thrown from a friendly quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. After making the catch, the receiver will then proceed to run towards the opposing end zone carrying the ball and try to score a touchdown, unless the play ends due to him being downed or forced out of bounds. Yardage gained from the passing play are credited to the catcher as his receiving yards.
A reception should not be confused with a lateral, also known as a lateral pass or backward pass, which is a legal pass anywhere on the field. In a lateral pass, the ball is thrown backwards or sideways to a teammate with no vector of the pass trajectory towards the opponent's goal line.