Cordarrelle Patterson's ground campaign has been one of the most pleasantly surprising developments of the 2021 season. Don't expect the Atlanta Falcons to ease up on the former All-Pro returner's carries anytime soon.
Patterson's increased workload in recent weeks should continue this week and beyond, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning.
After averaging 22.75 snaps per game over the Falcons' first four contests, the 30-year-old athlete has played 90 offensive snaps over Atlanta's last two games, both wins. Long just a returner and receiver, Patterson also carried the ball a career-high 14 times in both Weeks 5 and 7. His 21 touches against the Jets in London were the most he's ever seen.
Through six games played, Patterson is Atlanta's leader in yards from scrimmage (529), already boasts a career-high 233 rushing yards, and with four touches Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, would have his most touches ever in season (86).
Patterson was not Atlanta's splashiest free-agent addition this offseason, signing a one-year deal for just $3 million, and he wasn't expected to be the Falcons' lead back; Atlanta had also added ex-Panthers ball-carrier Mike Davis on a two-year, $5.5 million deal in free agency. But the do-everything dynamo has asserted his ability in Arthur Smith's offense. He averages a full yard more per carry (4.2) than Davis (3.2) and is also far more impactful in the passing game (four receiving TDs), where he made his offensive bones in Minnesota, Oakland, New England and Chicago.
"We use him everywhere," a team source told Rapoport. "There is not a position on offense that he can't play."
Davis has not seen his snap total decrease exponentially -- he's averaged 43.3 snaps per game on the year and had 38 last week -- but did have a season-low four carries and touches in Atlanta's win over Miami.
Patterson is on pace for a career year, possibly at Davis' expense but not at the Falcons'.