The Falcons lost their season opener to the Eagles in a demoralizing fashion as Philadelphia kept Arthur Smith’s new-look Atlanta offense out of the endzone all day, 32-6. There wasn’t much that went right after the first couple of offensive drives, but there was a lone bright spot that surprised much of the fan base — Cordarrelle Patterson’s emergence.
A couple of weeks ago, I proposed the question, “Can Cordarrelle Patterson withstand a full season as the change-of-pace RB behind Mike Davis?” His current career-best numbers out of the backfield were 64 rushing attempts for 232 yards and a touchdown a season ago. It was fair to question whether the veteran kick returner would hold up over the course of a full season as a running back. I ultimately concluded that Patterson would surely set new career highs in carries and yards this year.
I would be shocked if Patterson didn’t set new career highs in carries and yards this season — 65 attempts and 233 yards are the markers. Mike Davis will certainly shoulder the load, but I believe Falcons fans will be surprised how often Patterson is featured. The only question is: Will he be able to hold up physically?
The question still stands, because even though Patterson was the lone bright spot in Sunday’s loss, can he do it for an entire season? That answer won’t be found until the end of the season, but what we can analyze is what he did in limited action against the Eagles. What he did was grade out as the team’s best offensive player.
Top-5 #Falcons PFF Offensive Grades vs. Eagles
1. RB Cordarrelle Patterson – 74.8
2. LG Drew Dalman – 69.4
3. FB Keith Smith – 67.1
4. RG Chris Lindstrom – 66.3
5. RG Colby Gossett – 65.9
— Evan Birchfield (@EvanBirchfield) September 13, 2021
He not only looked better than starter Mike Davis; Patterson looked like the best player when he was on the field. He finished the afternoon averaging almost eight yards per carry, leading the team with 54 yards on seven carries. Patterson looked strong for how fluid and agile he is, providing the perfect complement to Davis’s hard-nosed running style. His longest run of the day was a 14-yard attempt in Philly territory. There wasn’t much to talk positively about from Sunday, but the Falcons run game sure does look different.