Home run; two words most commonly associated with baseball, but can also be used to describe a big play in myriad other sports.
Sunday afternoon, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson showed off his big-play potential against the New York Jets, and hit a home run.
On 3rd and one, quarterback Derek Carr motioned to Patterson, who stood out wide, and had No. 84 line up next to him in the backfield. With the Silver and Black on the Jets 43-yard line, center Rodney Hudson snapped the ball, and Carr nestled the pigskin in between the arms of Patterson who darted through a wide open hole. Streaking passed defenders downfield, the former University of Tennessee Volunteer set his sights on the end zone, and hit his target.
For the Raiders' fourth touchdown of the day, it wasn't running backs Marshawn Lynch, Jalen Richard, or DeAndre Washington who rushed for paydirt, it was a wide receiver who took the handoff. This touchdown in particular showed the fact that Patterson can do it all, and make you pay for it, from a variety of positions on the football field.
"When [Offensive Coordinator] Todd [Downing] called in the play, I was just excited because you know we been talking about it all week," Patterson said when asked about his touchdown Sunday. "You know we worked on it all week. They said we could get a touchdown and that's what we did. We executed. It starts in practice and to come in here just feeling it out and it felt good to get in the end zone for the first time."
In an offense with so many versatile weapons, Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing has a plethora of players he can feature on any given day. While the group has been successful thus far – the Raiders are currently fourth overall in offensive yards per game (384.5) and fifth in rushing yards per game (144.5) – one of the challenges is finding a way to spread the ball around.
"I was just thinking on the sideline, oh my god, we have so many weapons," Patterson said yesterday when asked about the offense. "Sky is the limit for these guys, for us, and being part of this organization it's amazing. I'm glad I'm here, it feels good and you know there is weapons all around the board."
To some this might be difficult, but when you have a player like Patterson, who's able to do a variety of things, he makes it easy.
"I think he's an exciting football player," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said postgame. "That was an example of some of the things we think we can do with him… He covers punts. He's the gunner… He's like a Swiss army knife."
A Swiss army knife, as Del Rio so eloquently put, is probably the best way to describe the dynamic return man. Patterson has yet to return a kickoff for touchdown, and to be fair it's only been two weeks, but it should be only a matter of time until he flashes downfield.
A look at the best images from the Raiders Week 2 game against the New York Jets.
Against a capable and worthy adversary in Week 1, Patterson awaited the kickoff from Tennessee Titans kicker Ryan Succop. Not one who's shy about taking the ball out of the end zone, Patterson didn't hesitate on that day, as he took off for a 40-yard gain. All it takes is one missed tackle, or good block, and he could go from coast-to-coast in the blink of an eye.
During his five years in the NFL, Patterson's best rushing season came in his rookie year, when he totaled 158 yards and three touchdowns. Through two games, No. 84 has nearly reached the halfway point of his career-best, with a total of 62 rushing yards.
In a crowded offense, amongst fellow Pro Bowlers, Patterson is finding ways to make his contribution impactful, and seems to be having fun doing it.