The Seahawks kept him in check until the third quarter, and then Patterson started ripping off longer runs. He had 34 yards on seven carries at halftime.
Patterson, a converted wide receiver and former first-round pick by the Vikings, eventually turned into one of the top kickoff returners in the NFL. Later in his career, the four-time Pro Bowler has moved into the backfield and is enjoying unprecedented success early in the 2022 season.
“As I get the ball, it’s like a kickoff return, and it’s like, hey, let’s go get a touchdown,” Patterson said. “That’s just my mindset every time that I touch the ball.”
Patterson nearly got a touchdown when he slashed through the Seattle defense for a 40-yard gain in the third quarter.
“Honestly, they were playing us so good all game,” Patterson said. “We were running it, and they knew where we were running it. They had our game plan down, but I just saw a crease on the backside. I just went back there. They did a good job blocking and just gave me the crease.”
Patterson rushed 22 times for 120 yards in the season-opening loss to the Saints. That was his career high before his outburst against Seattle.
Patterson averaged 8.3 yards per carry, which is probably not sustainable. He will draw even more attention in the coming weeks, but the Falcons will have to show the patience they exhibited against Seattle.
“You know it’s good when the offensive line says ‘let’s run this play’ and ‘let’s run that play,’ ‘’ Patterson said. “They were feeling themselves a lot today, and I love it. My offensive line, they get that aggression in them, and nobody can stop them. They are so dominant. They put the work in. It’s unbelievable.”
Colby Gossett started at left guard for the Falcons in place of Elijah Wilkinson, who was excused to attend to a personal matter. He enjoyed helping to clear the way for Patterson.
“It’s incredible,” said Gossett, who played at North Forsyth High and Appalachian State. “The guy can do whatever he wants to do back there. It’s nice to have a group of guys like our offensive line that can communicate and get him open and watch him run down the field.”
Left tackle Jake Matthews is also a big Patterson supporter.
“It felt really good,” Matthews said. “Pulling it out and getting a win. Coming into an incredible environment like this and finding a way to win, that’s part of running the ball.”
The Falcons’ offensive linemen stayed after the Seahawks’ front seven.
“You’d love to gash them for 30 yards each time the whole game,” Matthews said. “You have to work at it. It takes time to wear a defense down. I’m happy with how we stuck with it, and it paid off in the end.”
It was no surprise that the Falcons were going to try to run the ball on the Seahawks. In a 27-7 Seattle loss, the 49ers ran the ball 45 times for 189 yards last Sunday.
The Falcons threw some deep passes to tight end Kyle Pitts early in the game to help open up things. Pitts was targeted eight times in the first half and just once in the second half. Pitts finished with five catches for 87 yards.
“It opens it up,” Pitts said. “You have to stop the run, stop the pass, and he does a great job running hard for as big as he is. He’s a great leader, and he helps this offense.”
After playing the Rams in Inglewood, Calif., on Sept. 18, the Falcons flew to Seattle. They practiced at the University of Washington for the week and now can head home with a victory.
“It was great,” Patterson said. “I just appreciate everybody in this locker room. Everybody in the organization. They really don’t know the work that everybody else puts in.”
Patterson singled out the videographers, nutritionists and trainers.
“There is just so much work that is going on,” Patterson said. “They only see us guys on Sundays. So, we have to take our hats off to everybody in the organization.”
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The Bow Tie Chronicles
Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL schedule
Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26
Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27
Sept. 25: Falcons 27, Seahawks 23
Sun., Oct. 2, Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 9, at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 16 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.
Thur., Nov. 10 vs. at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD
Sat., Dec. 24, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.