Cordarrelle Patterson made NFL history with a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, his ninth of his career and most in NFL history. Kicker Younghoe Koo would successfully nail a 53-yard field goal with 1:47 remaining in the game and the Atlanta Falcons would beat the Chicago Bears 27-24 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 13 out of 20 passes for 131 yards and 1 touchdown. He also rushed for 25 yards.
“We appreciate the confidence from [head coach Arthur Smith] to allow us to do that and CP made a great play,” said Mariota as he described what went into the 4th and 3 play.
“You know, you got a cover for a long time when you put a rush plan like that… It was a heavyweight fight. you got two teams that are physical,” Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who returned to play in Atlanta for the first time since the 2018 SEC Championship game, finished the game with 238 total yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Fields was intercepted by Jaylinn Hawkins with 1:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Fields was injured during the final drive of the game. After the game ended, the Chicago quarterback was carted off after the game, after it was shown he was holding onto his clavicle. According to Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus, Fields is being evaluated for a left shoulder injury and will not have an update until Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Arthur Smith also said the number of carries Fields has will add up. Through ten games, Fields has rushed the ball 104 times for 749 yards.
“He had a lot of good plays out there today and he’s just kept growing and growing and growing and getting better and better,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said.
Patterson previously shared the record Joshua Cribbs and Leon Washington, each of whom had eight. He is in his second season with the Falcons and had his first return for a touchdown since 2020 with Chicago. He also returned kickoffs for scores with Minnesota and New England.
For clarification purposes, Devin Hester is the all-time return leader in return touchdowns with 20. That includes punts, kickoffs and other returns (field goals returns, fumble returns, etc).
“Really cool, really special moment,” Mariota said. “It’s cool to be a part of history and I knew when they kicked it to him especially after what happened earlier with the fumble that there was no way he was going to let that touch back. So again, he’s an incredible player. Still got the wheels man for being ten years in. Once he hit that second level, he was gone. It was fun to watch.”
“I mean, we know there’s going to be ups and downs to a game,” Eberflus said. “There’s going to be adversities as we go and we’re always going to respond to those adversities. We’re going to respond the same way: we’re going to have our eyes forward.”
Falcons defensive end Ta’Quon Graham was ruled out with a knee injury. He was carted off. Meanwhile, tight end Kyle Pitts also had a knee injury and he did not return. Arthur Smith did not elaborate on the severity of the injuries, saying he will not know much for the next 24-48 hours.
The Falcons will face off against the Washington Commanders next Sunday. The Commanders beat the Houston Texans 23-10.