Falcons Cordarrelle Patterson Continues to Impress at Running Back
ATLANTA (AP) — It’s time to put away any thoughts that Cordarrelle Patterson’s move from wide receiver to running back was destined to be a short-lived experiment.
The 31-year-old Patterson again showed he is more than a novelty item on the Atlanta Falcons’ depth chart. He set a career high in rushing for the second time in three weeks by running for 141 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta’s 27-23 win at Seattle on Sunday. He ran for 107 yards in the second half.
Patterson faded badly in the second half of last season as he appeared to wear down following his move to the backfield.
This year’s additions of veteran Damien Williams and rookie Tyler Allgeier provided options if Patterson couldn’t again prove he was capable of taking the lead role at running back.
Patterson still looks like a receiver as he wears No. 84, but the Falcons remained committed to the veteran as their starting running back. He has proved the point.
With Williams, expected to be Patterson’s top backup, on injured reserve with a rib injury, Patterson led the Falcons (1-2) to their first win.
Patterson set career highs with 120 yards on 22 carries in a season-opening 27-26 loss to New Orleans. His lead role changed when he and Allgeier each had 10 carries in a 31-27 loss at the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2.
Patterson again was Atlanta’s dominant back with 17 carries against Seattle. Allgeier had six carries for 25 yards.
A key to Patterson’s success has been the Falcons’ improved run-blocking. The offensive line overcame the absence of starting left guard Elijah Wilkinson, who missed Sunday’s game because of undisclosed personal reasons.
Patterson averaged 8.3 yards per carry, setting another career high, against Seattle. His production is crucial, as coach Arthur Smith is determined to establish a running game. The Falcons rushed for 179 yards and have topped 175 yards on the ground in two of their first three games for the first time since 2010.
“I mean even though he’s 31, he’s continuing to evolve, and he works to improve,” said Smith of Patterson. “And it’s fun to coach him.”
Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw only 20 passes against the Seahawks, completing 13 for 229 yards with one touchdown and one interception.