Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled in the second quarter on a run, giving Chicago the ball back. The Bears responded by scoring, and Patterson clearly was stewing on the sideline the entire time he watched Chicago march down the field. On the subsequent kickoff return, one of the great returners in NFL history redeemed himself and reminded us exactly why he’s so highly regarded.
Patterson took it coast to coast on the return, managing a touchdown that brought the Falcons within three points. With that score, he now has sole possession of the all-time NFL record for kickoff return touchdowns, a singular mark for a singular player.
Patterson’s returns have faded into the background because he has received fewer chances to bring the ball back on special teams given his incredible production as a running back for Atlanta, but he’s still capable of turning a couple of nice blocks into six points, as he did against the Bears today. There’s a reason he was so feared all these years even while he was solid but unspectacular as a receiver before taking off as a runner with Atlanta, and it has a lot to do with how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands on returns. It was spectacular to see him do it again for the Falcons, who hadn’t had a kickoff return touchdown in forever, and to ensure that Chicago’s touchdown drive was answered by a touchdown drive for Atlanta.
Congratulations to Patterson, who has put together a career that is going to earn him serious consideration for Canton when he eventually retires. The Falcons will hope they can turn that huge return into the kind of momentum that delivers a win today.