Cordarrelle Patterson Sets Record For Kick Returns For A Touchdown

Cordarrelle Patterson Sets Record For Kick Returns For a Touchdown

The Falcons specialist reached nine kickbacks for touchdowns in his career, the most in NFL history

ATLANTA — Atlanta Falcons kick return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson has consistently expressed his love for special teams, about how returning kicks has made his NFL career.

On Sunday, Patterson became the NFL’s all-time leader in kick returns for touchdowns with nine.

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He set the record in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears — one of his former teams — with a 103-yard return down the middle of the Bears’ kick coverage formation.

Patterson missed four games earlier this season due to injury and had been working to regain his spot on offense and his role in kickoff returns, which he inherited from Avery Williams last week against the Carolina Panthers.

Patterson began his comeback at Atlanta’s “A” in the end zone, coming out of the end zone, running up midfield and getting a key block from Troy Andersen as he cut through Chicago’s coverage. He passed between Bears kicker Cairo Santos and defensive back Elijah Hicks at the Falcons 45-yard line, then sped up the rest of the way. Hicks almost managed to tackle him from behind at the Chicago 5-yard line, but he dove and failed to tackle Patterson.

Cordarrelle Patterson had nine career kick returns for touchdowns. AP Photo

It was Patterson’s first kick return for a touchdown since 2020, when he led the league in kick returns (35), kick return yards (1,017), longest return (104 yards) and touchdowns (one).

When Patterson reached the end zone, his teammates celebrated with him as he broke a tie with Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington, who had eight kickoff returns for touchdowns in their careers. It’s the seventh season in Patterson’s career that he has had a kickoff return for a touchdown, two more than any player in NFL history. Before the 2022 season and after the best offensive season of his career, Patterson insisted that he would keep returning kicks because he knew he could make history.

“I have a record to break,” Patterson declared in July. “I need one more [regreso de patada para touchdown] before I can quit. If I get one more, I’ll stop doing it.”

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It’s unclear if that will actually happen with Patterson, who led the NFL in punt return yards in 2019 and 2020 and three times led the league in average kick return yards. Before Sunday, Patterson had four kick returns this season for 112 yards as his opponents didn’t allow him to return as many kicks as in the past.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Patterson, who was drafted in the first round in 2013 by the Minnesota Vikings, has been selected to the Pro Bowl four times and has four first-team All-Pro nominations as a specialist in kick returns.

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