Madden 20: Complete controls guide (Rushing, Passing, Intercepting, Offense, Defense, Hot Routes, Audibles, Coverages, Kicking) PS4 & Xbox One

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The NFL is crossing the halfway mark as we race into November. Madden 20 is here and giving fans a chance to control their favorite players across the field.

There are plenty of teams excelling and several already wishing for next year, but if you want to fill the shoes of your favorite players and make a run at the Super Bowl in Madden 20 you need to know how to dominate your opposition.

There are lots of new features this year to get to grips with, and you can see how much they have changed the game by reading our review.

If you want to truly master Madden 20 you need to know the controls.

If you are only used to the handful of controls that games like FIFA 20 offer then it can be daunting to look at an NFL field and see all the different jobs and roles players have.

With 22 players on the field doing a variety of things at any one time, Madden has always had to give you several controls for each position, and this year is no different.

There are the classic aspects of ball sport like sprinting and player movement control. But with Madden 20 you need to not just pass, but pass high, low, bulleted, or lofted.

Tackling mechanics can also be vastly different from things like FIFA 20 thanks to the brutality of the NFL. So if you really want to cause havoc during a game then this is the piece for you.

If you are a Madden veteran then this year's offering only has a few new features to master, but if you are new to the game and want to catch up to the competition, then this is for you. Let's start with the most common controls you'll need before getting into the key actions like changing plays at the line of scrimmage and dominating each individual position.

READ MORE: Best playbooks in Madden 20

Ball Carrier

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Stiff ArmXA
Precision Modifier/HesiL2/Tap L2LT/Tap LT
Protect BallR1RB
TruckR Stick UpR Stick Up
Stop JukeR Stick DownR Stick Down
Juke LeftR Stick LeftR Stick Left
Juke RightR Stick RightR Stick Right

These controls are similar to the way they have always been, but the game mechanics are a little different. The Real Player Motion physics allow you to make more precise cuts and change direction in a hurry. If you lay off the acceleration button and save the bursts of speed for when you make cuts, you'll find you make many more yards as a running back and can even leave defenders grabbing at air.

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Turning while holding the sprint button turns you from an agile athlete into a lumbering truck, with wide turns that fool no one. So behind the line of scrimmage and in traffic stay off the sprint button this year and wait until you have open space ahead of you.

The precision skills are not quite as deadly as they were last year, but they are still a great way to dodge would-be tacklers. LT/L2 and any of the spin, juke, and stiff arm buttons will produce a precision skill version of that move. You are more likely to fumble while doing these moves, but you can also affect more than one defender. Below you can see a precision juke move used to dodge a defender and break into space.


Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Low PassReceiver Icon + Hold L2Receiver Icon + Hold LT
High PassReceiver Icon + Hold L1Receiver Icon + Hold LB
Bullet PassHold Receiver IconHold Receiver Icon
Touch PassPress Receiver IconPress Receiver Icon
Lob PassTap Receiver IconTap Receiver Icon
ScrambleL Stick + R2L Stick + RT
Pump FakeDouble Tap Receiver IconDouble Tap Receiver Icon
Throw AwayPress R StickPress R Stick

Mastering the passing game will lead you to victory in Madden 20, but it will take some time and skill. You can make several different types of pass in Madden 20. Bullet passes (Hold receiver icon) are for times when there is no defender between you and the receiver. It's a fast and direct ball thrown by the quarterback. This is ideal for out routes and screens.

The touch pass (double tap receiver icon) is for when you need to fit the ball between tiers of defenders. For example, it can be used for a crossing route that is coming between the zone coverage of a linebacker and a safety. The lob pass (tap receiver icon) puts air under the ball and is ideal for deep routes where you want to drop the pass in behind a cornerback in man coverage. Maybe your speedster has a step on his corner and you need to get the ball over the defender, that is the perfect time for a lob pass.

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The high/low pass mechanic has changed control layout this year. Now you need to hold LB/L1 for a high pass just after you hit the receiver icon, and hold LT/L2 for a low pass. These are really precise mechanics for throwing into tight coverage.

In the endzone if you have a height advantage then you can throw a high pass for your receiver to out-jump his cornerback, or if your wide receiver is blanketed on a curl route, you can throw the low ball so he can just collapse on it. The low pass is especially good for avoiding interceptions and keeping your receiver away from big hits on a crossing route.

READ MORE: Madden 20 review


Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Aggressive CatchY
Run After CatchX
Switch PlayerOB
Possession CatchXA

Maximizing your catch rate and the yards you can make after the catch is an easy way to move your offense down the field more effectively. The aggressive catch (Y/▲) is a must for all high passes and any time you are throwing the ball into good coverage. You want to use the Run After Catch (X/■) mechanic when you are wide open and especially on crossing routes where there is usually far more space laterally than up field. It will help you transition between receiving and running with the ball and allow you to maintain your momentum much better.

The possession catch (A/X) is useful along the sideline to make sure the receiver gets his feet in, but it's also great if you are leading the receiver into trouble. If there is a safety coming downfield in a hurry who is going to lay a big hit, then possession catch will make sure you get to ground before he arrives.

Defensive Pursuit

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Defensive AssistL1LB
Strip BallR1RB
Dive TackleX
Switch PlayerOB
Hit StickR Stick UpR Stick Up
Cut StickR Stick DownR Stick Down
Blow-Up BlockerR Stick FlickR Stick Flick

Making plays on defense is vital to frustrate your opponent and win games in Madden. Not every play can be a turnover, but making sure tackles, breaking up passes, and picking up sacks are all important in getting to fourth down and making your opponent punt the ball away.

Using a mixture of strafe (LT/L2) and sprint (RT/R2) is the best way of getting around. The strafe mechanic allows your defender to stay extremely agile and change direction very quickly, with the sprint button allowing you to close distance rapidly once you have maneuvered yourself into position. While use of the hit stick (R Stick Up) is the most likely tackling method to create fumbles, it is also the most likely to miss, especially in the open field where your opponent can use a precision move to get away. A conservative tackle (A/X) or using the cut stick (R Stick Down) is most likely to result in bringing the ball carrier down. The dive tackle (X/■) is best used for rushing the quarterback or trying to get to a scrambling passer. It's also very useful on outside runs where the back has a bit more space and you are trying to make a tackle for loss.

READ MORE: Best WR's in Madden 20

Stripping the ball (RB/R1) is another mechanic to try and force a fumble, but constant use of it lowers your chances of making successful tackles. Save it for the fourth quarter when you absolutely need a touchdown or gang tackles when the ball carrier is stood up amongst multiple defenders.

Ball In Air Defense

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Defensive AssistL1LB
Ball HawkY
Switch PlayerOB
Play ReceiverXA

Just like on offense, you want to make sure you know how to play the ball in the air when you are on defense. A good mix of sprint (RT/R2) and strafe (LT/L2) will get you in position when in coverage. If you want to make an attempt at the interception, then the ball hawk mechanic (Y/▲) is for you. However, this comes with the risk of missing completely and allowing a reception. The swat (X/■) mechanic is far more likely to end up with an incompletion than the ball hawk. Using swat simply sends your defender into the skies to get a hand on the ball and keeps the receiver from making the catch. You can see below the perfect time to try the ball hawk, on a lobbed pass down the sideline that isn't quite perfectly timed.

If you are too far away to affect the ball in the air, then you want to use the play receiver (A/X) mechanic to make a tackle immediately and perhaps force the receiver to drop the ball as he comes down with it.

The defensive assist button (LB/L1) is a godsend to newer players. Pressing it will let the computer take over and get your player where he should be. This is especially useful in coverage where it can be very easy to become lost and not fully sure of where you are supposed to be.

READ MORE: Best QB's in Madden 20

Pre-Snap Offense

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Motion PlayerL Stick Left or Right (Hold)L Stick Left or Right (Hold)
Player LockDouble Press L StickDouble Press L Stick
Pass ProtectionL1LB
Show Play ArtL2LT
Fake SnapR1RB
X-Factor VisionR2RT
Hot RouteY
Switch PlayerSwitch PlayerB
Snap BallXA
Pre-Play MenuPress R StickPress R Stick
TimeoutShareMenu Button

Pre-snap controls can be rather daunting, but mastering it is perhaps the easiest way to improve your own level of performance in Madden 20. Modern football is all about getting favorable matchups and keeping defenses off balance.

The ability to motion receivers (hold L Stick left or right) can alter how your opponent can defend certain routes. Hot Route (Y/▲) gives you options to change one route in particular, or you can change the entire play with an audible (X/■).

Fake snapping the ball (RB/R1) can get an opponent to jump offside and give you a free play, though continued use of it can cause your own offense to false-start and cost you five yards.

Pre-snap Defense

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Defensive KeysL1LB
X-Factor VisionR2RT
Show Play ArtL2LT
Linebacker AudibleRight D-PadRight D-Pad
Defensive Line AudibleLeft D-PadLeft D-Pad
Coverage AudibleY
Switch PlayerOB
Defensive Hot RouteXA
Pre-Play MenuPress R StickPress R Stick
TimeoutShareMenu Button

Just like on offense, you can change things up before the snap on defense. You can slide your whole defensive line left or right to affect how your opponent will block you, you can change the responsibility of just one defender with a defender hot route (A/X) or change the entire defensive play with an audible (X/■).

Switching players (B/O) is vital on defense, because often you will need to switch to where the ball is going rather than trying to run all the way to it.


Defensive Engaged

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Reach TackleL Stick Left or Right + ■L Stick Left or Right + X
Hands Up/BatY
Power MoveX
Switch PlayerOB
Shed Block/Finesse MoveXA

More often than not there will be a blocker between you and the football, and knowing how to quickly get beyond him will minimize the yards you allow and even help you create turnovers against unsuspecting players. The reach tackle (L Stick Left or Right + X/L Stick Left or Right + ■) is a nice mechanic to allow you to influence the runner even when you are partially blocked, and if it is a pass you can still influence play by getting your hands up (Y/▲) to try and block a pass.

READ MORE: Best HB's in Madden 20The key pieces here are the power (X/■) and finesse (A/X) moves that get you off blocks completely and allow you to pressure the quarterback or get to the running back in good time. The faster you can get to the quarterback the more turnovers you can create, and getting turnovers are the surest way to prevent giving up points.

Defensive Coverage

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Player MovementL StickL Stick
Switch PlayerOB
Carry, Deliver, and Follow Receiver Out of PressR Stick Direction RollR Stick Direction Roll
Press/Chuck ReceiverR Stick Toward ReceiverR Stick Toward Receiver


Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Player MovementL StickL Stick
Switch PlayerOB
Aggressive Impact BlockRS UpRS Up
Aggressive Cut BlockRS DownRS Down

For those that want to get into the nitty-gritty of football, Madden 20 allows you to control a blocker, lock yourself into a receiver and run the route yourself, and also play tight coverage as a defensive back.

READ MORE: Fastest players in Madden 20

Player Locked Receiver

Action PS4 Controls Xbox One Controls
Individual Play ArtL2LT
Just-Go ReleaseR2RT
Player LockDouble Press LSDouble Press LS
Route Running/Move PlayerLSLS
Cut Moves While Route RunningRB + RS DirectionRB + RS Direction
Aggressive Footfire Release■ + LS DirectionX + LS Direction
Conservative Change-up ReleaseXA
Cut Out of PressFlick RSFlick RS

All these options are rather risky, as it leaves decisions on where to go with the ball up to the computer, and any errors as a defensive back, especially at the line of scrimmage in man coverage, can often be punished with a touchdown.

The receiver play is a nice option though. With the ability to start a franchise and control a player on every snap, the receiver position will be one of the most selected. Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr have made the receiver position cool again, and with the ability to make your own cuts (RB + L Stick Direction/R1 + L Stick Direction) and work yourself open, it will be far more used than throwing blocks or jamming receivers at the line.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Madden page.