The NFL has a new kick-return king.
Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson set a new career record on Sunday with his ninth kick return for a touchdown, breaking a tie with Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington.
The do-it-all weapon’s record-breaking play came on a 103-yarder in Atlanta’s 27-24 win over the Bears. It was an electric return in which Patterson split Chicago’s coverage, racing through the middle of the field for a score that more than made up for his fumble earlier in the game.
“The fumble the series before that,” Patterson told Reporters after the game. “That was in my head the whole time. As a football player, you’ve just gotta move onto the next play, and I was happy when [Cairo Santos] kicked me the ball because I just had to make a spark for my team. That’s what I went out there and did.”
Patterson’s touchdown was his seventh score of 100-plus yards, per NFL Research. No one else in league history has scored more than three.
The record is a testament to Patterson’s place as the league’s most dangerous returner in the last decade, but it also comes at a time in his career that he’s enjoying his best success as a contributor outside of special teams.
After spending his first eight seasons as a wide receiver with four different teams, Patterson joined the Falcons in 2021 labeled as a running back.
From then on, he rushed for 1,020 yards and 11 TDs and contributed another 587 yards and five scores on 58 receptions leading up to Week 11. Patterson finished Sunday’s game with 59 yards from scrimmage on 12 touches in addition to the record return TD.
Now a certified Threat in multiple phases, his next game-breaking score could come from anywhere.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to get that record,” Patterson said. “But like I said, I’m not finished. I got a lot of football left in me, so just trying to take that record and go crazy with it.”