Cordarrelle Patterson Enjoying Breakout Season For Falcons

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — It’s hard to think of a 30-year-old veteran, a four-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection as a breakout player.

But that’s exactly what Cordarrelle Patterson has become in his first season with the Falcons, transforming himself from a kick return specialist and spot wide receiver into a bona fide threat out of Atlanta’s backfield.

“Honestly, it doesn’t matter where they put me on the football field,” Patterson said. “I just try to go out there and make a play for my team. It’s something I’ve been doing my whole life.”

With nine years under his belt and on his fifth NFL team since the Minnesota Vikings used a first-round pick on him in 2013, Patterson is making the most of the first feature role he’s really ever had.

Patterson leads the Falcons (4-4) with a single-season career-high 737 yards from scrimmage (459 receiving, 278 rushing) and seven touchdowns.

In eight games, he has rushed 73 times for 278 yards and two scores. He has also caught a team-leading 38 passes out of the backfield for 459 yards and a team-best five touchdowns. And, he has returned 14 kickoffs for 332 yards.

Patterson is the first player to record at least 10 rushing touchdowns (10), 10 receiving touchdowns (15) and five kickoffs returned for touchdowns (eight) in his career since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

“He’s an incredibly versatile player,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “He runs the ball. Physical, hard. Has the ability to come out the back end at any time. Then was drafted as a wide receiver in this league. You can put him out there and he can go do what wide receivers do.

“Not many people on this planet have that versatility.”

With the NFL relaxing jersey number rules this season, Patterson has kept his No. 84.

“I still feel like it’s Roddy White sometimes when I’m handing the ball off. It’s kind of strange,” Ryan said. “If you produce, who cares what number you wear when you’re handing the ball off to him?”

Patterson also makes an impact catching passes, including the 64-yarder with a minute left Sunday that set up Atlanta’s 27-25 upset at New Orleans.

Patterson’s steady production as a receiver out of the backfield has helped the Falcons withstand the absence of No. 1 wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list to focus on his mental health.

“We need to continue to try and get him touches and find ways to get him the ball,” Ryan said of Patterson, “because he’s a playmaker.”

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